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Citing 'Moral Reasons', Indiana County Closes Its Needle Exchange Program In Midst Of Opioid Crisis

Lawrence County, Indiana has closed its needle exchange program. A council member cited 'moral reasons' for its closure.

Lawrence County, Indiana has closed its needle exchange program. A council member cited 'moral reasons' for its closure. The purpose of the county's needle exchange program was to halt the expansion of HIV and Hepatitis C through harm reduction according to NBC News.

Advocates are outraged and worried. “People are going to die,” said Christopher Abert of the Indiana Recovery Alliance, a group that has fought for and supported needle exchanges. “This is the second syringe exchange to close. Madison County up north closed theirs through the efforts of the local prosecutor and helped by the state attorney general.” Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, elected last November, has said he opposes needle exchange programs.

One of the county commissioners explained the reasoning behind the needle exchange closure.

Rodney Fish, one of the council members who voted against keeping the needle exchange program going, said he does not approve of needle exchange programs and cannot condone the county’s sponsorship of one. “I really do oppose the needle exchange because it’s not truly an exchange. It was a moral issue with me. I had severe reservations that were going to keep me from approving that motion,” Fish said. “I did not approach this decision lightly. I gave it a great deal of thought and prayer. My conclusion was that I could not support this program and be true to my principles and my beliefs.”

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