Ogden expansion for needle exchange program delayed

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OGDEN, Utah - A program called Syringe Exchange Services was postponed on Friday in Ogden.

The executive director of Utah Harm Reduction Coalition, Mindy Vincent, said Weber County law Enforcement and Ogden City Police expressed concerns over the service.

"They are not stopping the program; we actually chose to postpone it so that we could talk to the sheriff," Vincent said. "People are concerned it will increase crime, increase substance use... It will [not] increase homelessness and there is years of research that that will not happen."

She said the program helps get drug users slowly off substances. The program provides sterile syringes to addicts who give them dirty needles.

The program also provides other items, like alcohol swabs, cookers, ties, and condoms.

"What people do is they bring us their used syringes, or if they don't have used syringes we will still give them the amount of syringes they need to use to safely inject with a clean syringe every time," Vincent said.

Vincent used to be a drug addict, and about three years ago her older sister overdosed. She said her younger brother is a recovering addict with two years of sobriety.

"Everything I do is about preventing people from dying, trying to keep people from having to experience what I had to experience, losing my sister, and with losing so many friends and clients; I mean, I buried like 25 people over the last three years for opioids alone," Vincent said. "And that's not acceptable to me."

Vincent is meeting with the Weber County Sheriff's Office on April 11th to discuss her program. Ogden City police told FOX 13 it will be further reviewing the program before they decide whether to support it.