Maine sets a record for drug needle exchanges

The total hit 564,847 last year, up 238 percent since 2010, as heroin use surged and clinics like Portland's worked to prevent cases of HIV and hepatitis C.

State law has allowed needle exchanges in Maine since 1997, but the program only became active in 2002. There are four state-certified needle exchange programs, operating at six sites: Portland, Lewiston, Augusta, Bangor, Ellsworth and Machias.

All of Maine’s programs operate without federal or state funding. Federal funding for needle exchange has been banned since 1988 (except for a period from 2009 to 2012) and states often don’t provide funding either, so the programs run mainly on private grants or donations.


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