Health Board OKs Possible Needle-Exchange, if Bill Passes

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) – A northeastern Indiana health board has given its endorsement to a possible needle-exchange program if lawmakers approve a bill allowing such programs.

Monday's move by the executive board of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health means Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan can study the feasibility of a local needle-exchange program.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow the 23 Indiana counties with the highest hepatitis C rates to create their own needle-exchange programs.

McMahan tells The Journal Gazette ( ) that an HIV outbreak in southeastern Indiana's Scott County likely factored in the board's decision. That outbreak sparked by needle-sharing among intravenous drug users has reached 135 cases.

Gov. Mike Pence has authorized a limited needle-exchange program for Scott County, located about 30 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky.

  Information from: The Journal Gazette,