Oct 21, 2013 7:59 PM by Juice Godfrey

Needle exchange program voted down

Members of the El Paso County Board of Health have voted to not allow the Southern Colorado AIDS Project to operate a used needle exchange program in Colorado Springs. The group needed the boards approval because of a 2010 change in State law allowing counties an exemption in drug paraphernalia laws to adopt syringe exchange programs.

Several members of the board spoke out about the issue. Among them, County Commission members Amy Lathan and Sallie Clark. The most common concerns being about the effectiveness of needle exchange programs and how the programs might increase intravenous drug use.

Bill Mead, the Board President of the Colorado AIDS Project, was on hand to speak about the program. He says the concerns of the opposition are unfounded, "What we want to do is prevent the problem and prevent it from impacting our community more seriously than it does. Will we be able to cure all of the drug users? No. But, will we be able to make the community a safer area? Yes, we will have fewer needles in the parks."

The Colorado AIDS Project has started exchange programs in Denver, Ft. Collins and Grand Junction. They say the programs are too new to have any meaningful statistics right now.



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