As competing protesters in Chico debate the pros and cons of a needle exchange program for drug addicts, Congressman Doug LaMalfa has asked the Centers for Disease Control to halt federal funding of such programs. The purpose of needle exchange is to prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis. A program in Chico has been operating for 3 months and they’re being blamed for littered syringes around the community. The letter LaMalfa sent to the CDC is mostly symbolic, as the “North Valley Harm Reduction Coalition” says it gets its funding from the State Department of Public Health. Assemblyman James Gallagher is urging that agency to revoke the coalition’s permit. Research into such programs nationwide shows that they do, in fact, work well to prevent the spread of diseases. They run into problems when they hand out needles without getting dirty sharps in return, as the programs are supposed to operate.