Indiana county extends its needle exchange for 3rd year

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) — A central Indiana county has extended its needle exchange program for a third year to continue local efforts to combat the spread of hepatitis C among intravenous drug users.

Madison County’s commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the program through June 2018.

The Herald Bulletin reports the county-administrated program’s proposed budget for the coming year is nearly $54,000, with the county providing about half that and the rest coming through grants and private donations.

Needle exchanges provide IV drug users with clean syringes and collect used ones to reduce needle-sharing and prevent the spread of hepatitis C, HIV and other diseases.

Stephanie Grimes of the Madison County Health Department says the needle exchange program sees an average of 100 participants per month, with a 77 percent needle return rate.

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