West Virginia Officials Want New Needle Exchange Rules Reviewed

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A health department in West Virginia wants an attorney to review new rules that a police chief established for a needle exchange program.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department board voted Wednesday to keep the needle exchange portion of its harm-reduction program suspended while the attorney reviews the rules announced earlier this week by Charleston Police Chief Steve Cooper.

The board wants the attorney to determine whether following the rules would cause the department to violate any state or federal laws.

Under the new rules, only retractable needles would be distributed, and participants would have to be tested for blood-borne illnesses before being given needles and they must present government-issued identification.

Only Kanawha County residents would be allowed to receive needles.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones has said too many needles are ending up on playgrounds and streets.