Councilman Ben Hueso’s spokesman responded today to a query yesterday regarding the freshman official’s support for the clean-needle exchange program.

Hueso told political organizations, such as the local Democratic Party, that he supported allowing needle users to change out their used needles in exchange for clean ones, but he is now “on the fence” about the issue, spokesman Whitney Benzian said today.

Specifically, Hueso is concerned about the placement of the mobile trailer that operates the program. The trailer – which dispenses health advice, hygiene kits and condoms, but not clean needles since the program was discontinued last July – is currently stationed three hours a week in both North Park and downtown’s East Village.

Robert Lewis of Family Health Centers of San Diego, the program’s operator, said that the city is working on an ordinance outlining how new locations are added to the program. Any proposals for additional sites would be subject to a council vote, Lewis said.

The current locations are not within Hueso’s council district, but East Village is close to the parts of the city he represents. Both Hueso, whose district includes parts of the city from Barrio Logan to the Mexican border, and Councilman Tony Young, who represents southeastern San Diego, have been vocal about spreading the locations that provide social services to other parts of the city.

Their districts, they argue, include a disproportionate number of social service providers, such as free health care clinics and drug rehabilitation programs.

“He’s not sure where it’s going to be, but he wants to make sure he’s comfortable with the location,” Benzian said.

Click here to read our full story about the issue.


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