INDIANAPOLIS – As Congressman Todd Young attends an event today in Jackson County to hear from survivors of addiction, he has a chance to reflect on how he has failed them by voting against lifting a ban on needle exchange programs—even while his district was in the midst of the worst HIV outbreak in state history, fueled by IV drug use.
Here are some key facts to review:
– Jackson County is home to one of 16 Indiana communities working toward the potential needle exchange programs that Congressman Young opposed—even though clean needles are a proven way to fight the spread of needle-caused HIV. As the Scott County outbreak was happening next door, Jackson County had 8 new cases of HIV diagnosed in 2015. That same year, Todd Young voted against lifting the needle exchange ban.
– Scott County—in Todd Young’s congressional district—suffered the worst HIV outbreak in Indiana history, with 190 people diagnosed from February 2015 through April 2016. The outbreak was linked to intravenous drug use; but Young still voted against lifting the needle exchange ban.
– After Young voted against lifting the ban, his congressional district became home to four of Indiana’s eight state-approved needle exchange programs.
In addition to voting against lifting the ban on the needle exchange program, Congressman Young also voted against $160 million in funding to address the heroin and opioid crisis, including $12 million for Naloxone, an overdose reversal drug relied upon by Indiana first responders.
So will Congressman Young explain today why he voted against important initiatives to help address these crises in his district and his state? He owes Hoosiers that.