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Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Suspends Needle Exchange

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) - The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department is suspending its needle exchange program effective immediately.

Brenda Isaac, president of the Kanawha-Charleston Board of Health, announced on Monday, March 26th, 2018, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department is suspending the needle exchange portion of its harm reduction program, effective immediately.

This comes just hours after Charleston Mayor Danny Jones called for the State Health Officer, Dr. Gupta, to audit KCHD and its Harm Reduction Program.

The Charleston Police Department also announced Monday that in their first attempt, their undercover informant was able to get 10 needles from the program using a fake letter from a landlord.

The Chief of the Charleston Police Department, Steve Cooper, also announced multiple changes for the KCHD program. He is allowed this authority through city ordinances. They include mandatory blood tests and drug counseling. The program must also only use retractable needles. Only residents in Kanawha County would be eligible for needles and identification must be shown.

Those changes would be required to go into effect if the program reopens. No word on when that might happen.

This is a developing story, we will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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