CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A health department in West Virginia has suspended its needle exchange program after a police chief issued new rules for the program.
The Charleston Gazette Mail reported by the Kanawha-Charleston Public Health Department suspended the needle-exchange portion of its harm-reduction program on Monday with immediate effect.
Charleston Police Chief Steve Cooper announced the rules Monday, saying that participants must present a state-issued ID card before receiving needles from the health department. He also ordered only retractable needles, and for the participants to do blood tests and be offered narcotic counseling.
The move comes after Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said that too many needles land on playgrounds and roads.
In a letter, Cooper also said that the health department has monthly reports detailing the participants, including those who have entered a rehabilitation program and who have tested positive for HIV or hepatitis infections.