Monday, November 16, 2009

Pennsylvania Businessman Seeks Sponsor for Needle-Exchange Program

For 11 years, Robert Field has personally financed a needle exchange program in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Now, hes hoping the community-at-large will step up and continue funding the program, because of a policy shift which would lift a ban on over-the-counter syringe sales.

“Field said he is ending financial support after December because the regulatory change should free Lancaster General Hospital or other organizations to fund the effort,” Jeff Hawkes reported in the Nov. 13 edition of the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal. “Alice Yoder, director of community health at Lancaster General Hospital, has met for several months with Field and others in harm-reduction work and is aware of the funding challenge Field has issued.

Yoder said her hospital doesnt have an official position regarding needle exchange, but physicians and board members have been asked for input, Hawkes reported. Rev. Edward Bailey, the pastor of the church where Fields’ needle exchange currently takes place, told Hawkes that the need for the program is great, and that his church will continue to host the exchange regardless of funding.