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Used needles found near a Lafayette school

People living near the Tippecanoe County Needle Exchange program are angered and worried after finding used needles lying around the neighborhood.

Posted: Nov. 9, 2017 5:26 PM
Updated: Nov. 9, 2017 6:37 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — St. James Lutheran School Principal Jacob Rogers and neighbors living nearby hope city and county leaders reconsider the location of the Tippecanoe County Needle Exchange Program.

The program opened at the Health Department on North 6th Street August and since then, two needles have been found outside St. James, which is about two blocks away.

People living near the Tippecanoe County Needle Exchange program are angered and worried about the location of the program.

Several in the neighborhood complained about it at the Tippecanoe County Commissioners meeting on Monday.

One of those people included Brianne Hubner.

She's a mom of three boys.

"They're like puppies, if you don't exert the energy they become destructive," said Hubner.

That's why she likes to take her boys outside to go on walks, run around, and play.

"But the needle exchange has become kind of a problem for us," said Hubner

With free needles being handed out to addicts just down the street, she doesn't feel safe letting her kids play outside anymore.

"I have to show my five-year-old and my three-year-old what a hypodermic needle looks like and not to pick it up and not to touch it," said Hubner.

And then of course comes the question, why?

"Why is that on the ground? What is it used for? Why can I not touch it? Why can't I pick it up and throw it away?" said Hubner.

Used needles have been found in this area since the program opened on North Sixth Street in August. Two were found just outside St. James Lutheran School. One behind an air conditioner.

Jacob Rogers, Principal at St. James Lutheran School said, "We saw one in the parking lot right before where that car is over there."

Tippecanoe County Commissioner Tracy Brown is confident there will be two mobile sites secured soon.

"Hopefully it will reduce the number of people going to 629 North Sixth Street, my hopes are that at some point and time we find a location that allows us to move those operations out of the health department," said Brown.

If not, Hubner says her family is moving. She's been watching as addicts leave her neighborhood with free needles.

"And they're elated, you can tell, you know I'm there from 1-3:30 and the people are going in and they are coming out and this isn't, what is this?" said Hubner.

She doesn't understand how the health of criminals could come before the safety of innocent kids.

Hubner said, "It's the children and I don't think that has been talked about,"

Last week, we found out the program isn't an exact one for one exchange.

Commissioner Brown has since required the department to weigh the needles to get a more accurate exchange.

He's also asking for exchange rates to be updated weekly and posted for the public to see.

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