In 2-1 vote, Dubuque County Supervisors approve funding for syringe service study

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The Dubuque County Board of Supervisors approved funding for a study on syringe service programs. That's a program that gives out sterile needles to those who inject drugs. It's also known as needle exchange.

Iowa law doesn't allow it but legislators are pushing for that to change. Health professionals say needle exchange programs reduce the risk of spreading HIV and Hepatitis C.

Supervisor Jay Wickham said this study will examine the possibility of establishing a program in Dubuque.

"We'll look at other states, and we'll look at state law and we'll bring together the stakeholders. We'll bring together law enforcement, the medical community, and also patient advocates to see how this can help Dubuque County," he said.

The study costs $10,000, but that money came from $300,000 that was already allocated to Mercy for opioid response.

Ann McDonough voted against approving the study.