Massachusetts Highest Court to Hear Needle Distribution Case

Used needles on the ground near a campsite in Hyannis.

BOSTON (AP) — The state’s highest court will hear arguments in a case that could clarify whether groups distributing clean hypodermic needles to stem the spread of diseases like AIDS can operate legally in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will take up the case of the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod versus the Town of Barnstable on Tuesday.

Arguments had been scheduled for Thursday, but were postponed because of the blizzard.

The case dates to 2015, when town officials demanded the group end the program. A judge at the time sided with the AIDS activists.

The town has argued the group failed to receive local approval and created a health risk from dirty needles left around town by drug users.

Activists say a 2006 state law allows them to distribute needles.

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