Associated Press Published

Needle Exchange Rules Tightened in W.Va. City

syringe, needles

A West Virginia police department has tightened rules for a health department’s needle exchange program.

Charleston Police Chief Steve Cooper said Monday participants must present a government-issued identification before receiving any needles from the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. He also ordered only retractable needles to be issued and for participants to undergo blood tests and be offered drug counseling.

The move comes after Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said too many needles are ending up on playgrounds and streets.

In a letter, Cooper also said the health department must submit monthly reports listing participants, including those who have entered a rehabilitation program and who have tested positive for HIV or hepatitis infections. The reports also must include the number of needles both distributed and returned.

Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper called Cooper’s initiative a “common sense approach.”