AUGUSTA ( AP) — Hypodermic needle exchange programs in Maine, which collected more than a quarter million syringes during the year ending last Oct. 31, are in serious financial straits.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says 260,050 syringes were collected and disposed of through the state’s four certified exchange programs, based in Portland, Bangor, Ellsworth and Augusta.

The syringes are collected to prevent the spread of AIDS, hepatitis and other diseases.

No federal or state money is used for needle exchange programs, and private grant money for them is running out.

The Bangor-based eastern Maine AIDS Network reported the largest number of syringes collected — 94,505. The totals for the other regions were Portland 92,043, Ellsworth 38,629, and Augusta 34,873.

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