The Atlantic City Council voted to terminate the needle exchange program implemented by the city over the past 14 years, claiming that other cities in the state are “sending their questions” to Atlantic City.
The 7-2 vote on Wednesday cancelled a decree Operation needle exchange For the temporary clinic Oasis, the clinic will become effective within 50 days.
City Council Chairman George Tibbitt said that needles were a growing problem and were thrown on the street. NBC10 report.
“You see our street, we have to take our street back,” Tibitt said. “This is a family destination. This is a tourist attraction, and we can’t have anything to happen.”
Several MPs said that the problem came from residents of other cities.This South Jersey AIDS Alliance, responsible for operating Oasis’ needle exchange program, The law does not allow collecting the addresses of those who hand in the needle, but CEO Carol Hani said that a small sample of 100 people shows that 90% live within two miles of the center.
Governor Phil Murphy Wrote a statement Said that he was “deeply disappointed” by the council’s vote.
Murphy wrote: “This action will endanger some of the city’s most dangerous residents and contradict my government’s comprehensive, data-driven strategy to end the opioid crisis.”
In public comments, Tibitt raised a jar filled with almost half of the needles. He said that the needles were collected from Boston Boulevard and a local skate park., WHYY reports.
Tibbitt said: “It takes a week and a half to collect so many needles without caps, nothing.” “Is this fair to our children?”
Harney said the cancellation of the plan would make the problem worse.
Hani said: “The problem is, if we close after 30 days, people will still use the syringes, and they won’t have the motivation to handle them properly.”
This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention It was found that the needle and syringe exchange program reduced HIV and HCV infection by 50% and was an effective part of prevention and intervention.
These programs can also reduce addiction rates, because new participants are five times more likely to receive drug treatment than those who do not use the exchange program, and are three times more likely to stop drug use than those who do not use the exchange program.
The cancellation of the syringe and needle exchange program will also affect other services of the AIDS Alliance, such as free medication, housing and food assistance.