Well, it depends on who you ask. And if you are running for re election.
The introduction of an ordinance to authorize the establishment of a needle exchange program raised a few eyebrows at the Council work session on Monday September 9.
The ordinance, introduced by Council B representative Jeff Everson, also decriminalizes distribution and/or possession of hypodermic needles and syringes by organizations and participants in the program.
Needle and syringe exchange programs are designed to prevent and reduce the transmission of communicable diseases transmitted by injections.
Specifically they are intended to reduce the spread of HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, and other blood-borne diseases. Another goal is to reduce needle stick injuries to law enforcement officers and other emergency personnel as well as by others who find discarded syringes.
In addition to disposal of used needles and hypodermic syringes, these programs may also provide needles, syringes and other drug use supplies in an effort to prevent the sharing and/or reuse of needles.
Needle exchange programs are legal in Louisiana if authorized by a municipality. New Orleans and Baton Rouge now have them. The Shreveport Philadelphia Center wants to establish a needle exchange and can do so without public funding.
Council members James Flurry , Willie Bradford and Stephanie Lynch are running for re election. No doubt they will put their toe in political waters before deciding their vote. Flurry says he has received negative input from his constituents.
The Council will consider adoption of this ordinance on November 13, the week after the November 8 primary. Flurry and Lynch each just have one opponent so their seats will be decided. Willie Bradford may be in run-off election. This delay should provide sufficient time for review, input from citizens, and remove the re election hurdle for at least two council members.
Leaving out “politics” during re election campaigns is virtually impossible to do. However in the abstract it is difficult to logically argument against the ordinance.