Vermont tentatively approves needle exchange
Vermont's Department of Health announced this week that it would allow Vermont CARES to continue its needle-exchange program in the town of St. Johnsbury, provided the organization complies with several conditions. Health commissioner Jan Carney sent a letter to town manager Mike Welch outlining steps the program must take in order to keep operating, which included additional staff training, distributing substance abuse information and referrals to each program participant, and establishing written policies about how many needles can be distributed at one time. The changes came at the request of St. Johnsbury officials, who had hoped to eliminate the program in the town. Kendall Farrell, executive director of Vermont Committee for AIDS Resources, Education, and Services, said the organization is currently formulating a response to the health department's new criteria.