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N.H.'s First Needle Exchange Program Forced to Close

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Courtesy of Project 439
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Louisa Chen, 23, organizes clean usage supplies outside the exam room of the needle exchange program at the Claremont Soup Kitchen.

The state’s first needle exchange program in Claremont has closed its doors, at least for now.

The program is run by Dartmouth Medical students out of the city’s soup kitchen. It’s been open since June when these syringe exchanges became legal in New Hampshire.

The Claremont exchange handed out clean needles, collected used ones and gave out the overdose reversal drug Narcan.

But the Claremont city council said it was operating too close to a school, which is against city and state law.

Louisa Chen, who helps run the exchange, said she’s devastated they’ve had to close.

“Every day we can’t run is another day that people are being put at risk for contracting HIV, HCV, or even dying from an overdose," Chen said.

The group is looking for another location in the city and hoping to begin operations as soon as possible.

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