Tippecanoe County approves needle exchanges for another year

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — The Tippecanoe County commissioners have voted 2-1 to reauthorize the county health department’s syringe exchange program for another year.

The vote Monday in Lafayette follows recent decisions in Lawrence and Madison counties to end needle exchange programs there. Tippecanoe is among fewer than 10 Indiana counties offering needle exchanges for intravenous drug users.

Tippecanoe Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler sought the extension, telling the commissioners the program needed more time because the county has had 154 new cases of hepatitis C this year. He says 37 of the 111 participants have tested positive for the disease.

Adler says the program has distributed more than 8,100 needles and has collected nearly 9,400 as of Nov. 30. The program began Aug. 11 after a search for a location delayed its opening for months.