Deschutes needle exchange program in peril

Deschutes needle exchange program in peril

Deschutes needle exchange program in peril

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by Associated Press

kgw.com

Posted on July 12, 2012 at 1:04 PM

BEND, Ore. -- Officials say the Deschutes County needle exchange program is on the verge of shutting down because of a lack of money.

The Bend Bulletin reports that the program works to prevent the spread of infections such as hepatitis C and HIV among injection drug users and, through their sexual partners, into the broader community. The needle exchange grew rapidly in recent years, despite a small budget that included a mix of public and private money.

Health educator Tuesday Johnson says the program will continue as long as needles are available, which could be a couple of months with the current supply. Donations of money or needles could extend that.

Some local law enforcement officials are also supportive of the program, but it often lacks the political support necessary for public funding.

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