Ending needle exchange endangers lives

County Commissioners Vicki Raines and Wes Cormier are taking our county public health backward by ending the needle exchange program. It’s sad to see our county government leaders being short sighted, narrow minded, and judgmental rather than supporting the program intended to protect public safety and health of our county citizens.

This needle exchange program is intended to collect dirtyneedles from the county and to protect the citizens. Moreover, it provides opportunities to reach out to people who may benefit from services to help them into recovery and prevent overdose deaths in our own county that has the highest drug overdose mortality rate in the state of Washington.

Our county commissioners are ignoring strong recommendations from leaders of health care professionals of our county including physicians, the director of GH County Public Health and our community hospital CEO, which is also backed by strong public health research.

Ms. Raines and Mr. Cormier, what research data and professional recommendations support your decision on this matter to protect our county public safety?

Clara C. Shin, MD