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Do Indiana's Needle Exchanges Have A Future? A Conversation

Photo by Seth Tackett WTIU/WFIU News
Michelle Matern discusses Scott County's mobile syringe service program.

The HIV outbreak in Scott County five years ago prompted Indiana lawmakers to allow the creation of needle exchanges. The programs provide clean needles to IV drug users in an effort to stop the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C.

This year, state legislators have been debating the future of the exchanges.


The General Assembly approved a bill last week that extends syringe exchange programs to 2022. It followed a failed attempt to make them permanent, sparking fears that the exchanges would close their doors.

Why not make them a permanent fixture in Indiana? And what have we learned about their effectiveness here? We talk about it with health experts and policy makers. 

Guests on Indiana Public Broadcasting's All IN included Justin Phillips, founder of OverDose Lifeline; Eric Yazel, health officer in Clark County; and Indiana State Representative Ed Clere. 

Produced by Drew Daudelin.