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Sheriff keeps eye on park needle exchange program

7:50 AM, Dec 23, 2013   |    comments
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MODESTO, Calif. (AP) - The operators of a grassroots program that provides needles, syringes and condoms to drug users in Stanislaus County say the sheriff's department is unfairly scaring off and thereby endangering potential participants.  

The Modesto Bee reports that in response to complaints from nearby residents, county sheriff's deputies have spent the past month monitoring the weekly Modesto Needle Exchange in Mono Park.  

Program director Brian Robinson tells The Bee that only about one-third of the 100 people who usually show up did last week while deputies asked clients for their names and if they were on probation or parole. 

Although Stanislaus lawmakers haven't endorsed the program, a California law that took effect last year authorizes needle exchanges operated under a doctor's supervision as a way to prevent the spread of disease.  

Sheriff Adam Christianson says the park is the wrong place for needles and drug users.

The Associated Press

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