Needle exchange program to resume in West Virginia city

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia health department will resume its needle exchange program once it can comply with new rules issued by a police chief.

Kanawha-Charleston Health Department President Brenda Isaac tells the Charleston Gazette-Mail the needle exchange portion of its harm reduction program should resume by mid-April.

Under rules announced by Charleston Police Chief Steve Cooper on Monday, participants must present a government-issued identification before receiving any needles from the health department. He also ordered only retractable needles to be issued and for participants to undergo blood tests and be offered drug counseling. Only Kanawha County residents would be able to obtain needles, which must be returned if a participant wants additional ones.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones has said too many needles are ending up on playgrounds and streets.

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