Wisconsin News

Needle Exchange Program to blame for increase in syringes found in city?

Is Needle Exchange Program Working?

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - The La Crosse Fire Department continues to respond to reports of hypodermic needles being found in the city. They say there's no specific area where they're finding them, but rather "all over," including in downtown parking ramps.

They say so far in the month of April, they've recovered 8, a number that seems to be slowly increasing as the snow melts. They recovered 10 in all of March.

We first told you about this problem late last week. Some at the fire department believe the county's effort to stop the spread of disease through the Needle Exchange Program could be playing a role in the amount of needles being found.

The needle exchange program in La Crosse distributed nearly 92,000 syringes last year.

The vice president of the Aids Resource Center of Wisconsin says it's truly a needle exchange program to get as many used needles out of the community as possible.

"We provide them with a Sharps Container, and ask them to return that to us full of used needles, and then we will provide them with clean needles," said Bill Keeton.

However, they say they do not count how many needles are in the Sharps Container when it is returned because it's dangerous for the staff. Therefore, they don't necessarily know the exact number of dirty needles that are being exchanged for clean ones.

If you come across any needles, contact the fire department or the county's emergency dispatch center.

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