Police in Minneapolis and St. Paul are stepping up efforts to help the public find needles that can be used to treat patients.
They say that many people who use needles do so because they need them to treat a serious illness.
The Minneapolis Police Department said it is testing about 1,200 needles to help with that, and will be working with the state to provide needles for people with HIV and hepatitis C.
“The needle exchange program is a vital part of our public health efforts,” said Lt.
Steve Buss, spokesman for the Minneapolis Police.
“It’s important to get people to see us as an ally in this effort.”
Buss said the city has been partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to try to increase the number of people who get tested for HIV and Hepatitis C and the number who get vaccinated.
The city also has taken steps to help educate people about needle exchanges and have a list of ways they can get tested.
“We’re doing a lot of outreach on the front end, and we’re going to continue to do that,” Buss said.
The Minnesota Department of Health said it has tested more than 1,300 people who’ve used needles since January 1.
The department said the vast majority of the people who tested positive tested positive in their homes.
The health department said that of the 1,247 people tested, 721 were HIV positive and 1,828 were Hepatitepositive.
The majority of people tested positive were men, and of those, nearly half tested positive.