Howard County prosecutor speaking out against needle exchange program

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HOWARD COUNTY, Ind. — Howard County Prosecutor Mark McCann is speaking out against the possibility of a state funded Syringe Exchange Program (SAP) coming to his county.

Right now, five counties have state approved SEP’s. Howard County is on the list of counties that are working towards potential SEP’s. The state department of health implemented needle exchange programs in response to growing HIV and STD epidemics.

McCann says while he believes in attempts to curb these epidemics, he believes free needles would only enable drug users.

“I think that needle exchange only addresses one symptom and gives an allusion of solving a multi-pronged drug addiction problem,” McCann said. “My biggest concern with a needle exchange program, as a prosecutor, is I think it’s promoting illegal use of drugs.” McCann says he doesn’t believe these programs work.

The Indiana State Department of Health says it’s important that communities look at the risk factors to find the best approach to tackle individual community needs.

“ISDH has provided data on hepatitis C, HIV and overdose rates to every Indiana county so that they are aware of their risk factors.” said Jeni O’Malley, Director, Office of Public Affairs at the Indiana State Department of Health. “While ISDH encourages all counties to discuss those factors, decisions on how to address them are made locally, and any response needs community buy-in to be successful.”

McCann says he has other ideas on how to combat the drug problem.

“Howard County is in need of additional counseling, funding the rehabilitation clinics, and proving mental health geared services to drug users and I’d like to see our energy and money focused on helping addicts in providing services to drug users,” he said.

You can find a list of counties on the SEP list by clicking here.

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