ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Atlantic City residents and officials have had enough. This week, the city council voted 7-2 to shut down OASIS, a needle exchange program. City officials said the program brings blight and is a concern to residents and tourists alike.
“I understand that we probably need this, but don’t want it here,” said Councilman Jeffree Fauntleroy. Oasis is one of seven needle exchange programs funded by the State of New Jersey.
The decision drew the ire of socialist Democrat Governor Phil Murphy.
“I am deeply disappointed by the Atlantic City Council’s decision to close the city’s syringe access program. This action will endanger some of the city’s most at-risk residents and contradicts my Administration’s comprehensive, data-driven strategy to end the opioid crisis,” the Governor said.
Murphy said he remains committed to the needle exchange.
My Administration continues to assess paths forward and we remain committed to preserving access to these evidence-based and life-saving services for Atlantic City and area residents. I and the City Council’s vision for a healthy and vibrant Atlantic City and, moving forward, I hope the council will work with us to advance measures that promote both public health and economic health in the city. As we’ve said repeatedly throughout the pandemic, public health promotes economic health,” Murphy said. “Now, more than ever, because of the increase in opioid-related deaths, is the time to push forward and continue in our broader efforts to expand harm reduction centers across the state. Individuals struggling with addiction deserve access to the critical, compassionate services they need to stay alive, recover, and thrive.”
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