Councilman speaks out on needle exchange

County Councilman John Basham is speaking out against the needle exchange program in Tippecanoe County.

Posted: Dec. 14, 2017 2:28 PM
Updated: Dec. 14, 2017 6:36 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — County Councilman John Basham is speaking out against the needle exchange program in Tippecanoe County.

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On Tuesday, the Health Department gave an update on its Gateway to Hope Syringe Services Program.

Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler answered questions and gave recent HIV-Hep C data.

Basham says the presentation didn't change his mind.

He still thinks it sends the wrong message to drug users.

"I feel bad for these people but I've got to be careful what I say. Again, I'm my brother's keeper but I am not going to enable somebody to continue to break the law and I am against it," said Basham.

He says he has received numerous letters and phone calls from angry people living near the program.

"I understand where they are coming from and I would feel the same way but it's not only that, being in their backyard. I'm against the program. I'm not willing to enable somebody to continue to break the law," said Basham.

The council does have the power to defund the program by refusing to approve grants.

Basham says he didn't know he could do that until recently.

He plans to vote no on needle exchange grants in the future.

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