Centers for Disease Control data indicate needle exchange programs save lives and reduce the spread of disease. But concerns about safety came up at a recent City Council workshop.
Lauren McGinley, executive director of the New Hampshire Harm Reduction Coalition, made a presentation Aug. 17 for the council.
City Councilor Palana Hunt-Hawkins works as a care coordinator for NHHRC. She said the presentation to the council was made after a couple of complaints by people who work near the exchange site in Rochester.
“I asked my boss at NHHRC to come and speak to the council, because I felt some people didn’t really know about needle exchange programs,” Hunt-Hawkins said. “The biggest problem was that a group had started coming to give out free groceries and essentials where the exchange was taking place. So people began sitting around eating food.”
Hunt-Hawkins said that group has relocated, and the traffic around the location has been greatly reduced.