Purdue's student government rejects idea of needle exchange on campus

A majority of the Purdue student government is making their stance clear on a possible needle exchange program. This comes after West Lafayette city leaders began discussions of a possible program coming to the city.

Posted: Nov 16, 2017 6:59 PM
Updated: Nov 17, 2017 10:38 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- A majority of the Purdue student government is making their stance clear on a possible needle exchange program. This comes after West Lafayette city leaders began discussions of a possible program coming to the city.

Right now there is a needle exchange program at Tippecanoe County's Health Department.

Since Oct. 1, health officials said the program has seen 83 clients. Some city and county leaders feel there should also be a program in West Lafayette, meaning a mobile unit could end up Purdue's campus.

Many students are now speaking out, trying to make sure that it doesn't happen.

"I think it would be remiss if they were to discuss something that would affect Purdue students without a Purdue voice being in that discussion," said Purdue student senator Dalton Daily. "People could see a mobile clinic and think poorly of the area and I don't want to ever devalue part of Purdue's campus."

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said he is open to discussion in regards to the needle exchange program possibly making its way to campus.

"I do of course understand the concerns and that's my first instinct," said Daniels. "But this a terrible problem and if they've proven it useful enough places, we ought to at least listen to the advocates."

However, the idea of a mobile exchange unit drove student Senator Dalton Daily to write up a resolution saying that the student government stands against a needle exchange program coming to campus. Majority of the Senate voted in favor of the resolution.

But not everyone was on board.

"I voted no because I did not feel comfortable saying that, for my voice and the people I am supposed to be representing as a senator, to say yes to this," said Purdue student senator Jeff Fisher.

Several pharmacy students spoke out during the meeting saying the program would be crucial to the area and to Purdue.

"Why are we not being proactive rather than reactive? Why does something have to happen for this to even be implemented in our area?" said Pharmacy student Michelle Higgins.

Daily said he will take the resolution to the next West Lafayette City Council meeting.

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