Jan 262004
Authors: Jamie Way

Although Boulder and Fort Collins are similar in some ways, one

city has not welcomed an illegal public service program accepted by

the other.

The Works is a program in Boulder that allows drug users to

exchange their dirty needles for clean needles, so that they may

inject illegal substances without the risk of contracting


Despite Boulder’s acceptance of the program, Fort Collins does

not plan to create a similar program. Some believe that a needle

exchange program would benefit the community.

“To prevent further HIV or AIDS infections, the data shows

needle exchange programs are effective and considering those

facts…we would be in favor of something like that,” said

Christiano Sosa, executive director for the Northern Colorado AIDs


Sosa said that because methamphetamine use is becoming a concern

in more rural areas, the system should be put into place before

there is a crisis.

“You have to set aside the moral argument. You have to set aside

the judgment and meet people where they’re at,” Sosa said. “Because

that is the foundation and basis of harm reduction programs.”

Some may be in favor, but with the current political climate,

developing a needle exchange program may be difficult.

“Considering state and local regulations, it would be extremely

difficult to legitimize and institutionalize a needle exchange

program in the Fort Collins area,” Sosa said.

Mayor Ray Martinez, as well as U.S. Sen. Marilyn Musgrave, has

consistently been opposed to needle exchange programs.

“I wouldn’t be in favor because of unintended consequences,”

Martinez said.

He said that there would be undesired side effects if Fort

Collins were to adopt a needle exchange program.

“It has a trickle-down effect to other society problems,”

Martinez said.

A needle exchange program is not currently proposed in the Fort

Collins area.

“There’s nothing in the works to have a program like that at

this time,” said Linda Jensen, executive assistant to District

Attorney Stuart VanMeveren. “We don’t anticipate one in the


Some health care workers believe a needle exchange program would

be beneficial to society.

“I think in any community where there is a population of

inject-able drug users, it is a good program to decrease the

transmission of infection,” said health educator Deb Morris.

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