Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jan 1999 
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Section: Metro, Page B07
Copyright: 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.
Author: Associated Press


WORCESTER - The City Council's Health Committee voted 2-1 against
recommending a needle exchange program for heroin addicts Wednesday.

The vote came at the end of a three-hour public hearing, during which some
supporters of the program walked out and an opponent was removed by police
after repeatedly interrupting a city councilor.

The issue will go before the full City Council Jan. 19.

Leaders of those supporting the program and of those opposed said they
expect the council to reject the needle exchange program.

Under the proposal by the Harm and Risk Reduction Coalition of Worcester,
addicts could exchange used needles for clean ones to try to reduce the
spread of hepatitis and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Approximately 75 people attended the hearing, and 40 of them spoke out - 27
in favor of the program, and 13 against it.

A similar proposal was voted down by the City Council in 1995.

Based on votes cast then and on declared positions, the proposal appears
headed for a 6-5 or 7-4 defeat in the full council, depending on the vote
by Councilor Joseph M. Petty, who has not stated his position publicly.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake