Texas needs needle exchange program

A needle exchange program to help reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis C may finally be a reality for Bexar County.

The launch of what is sometimes referred to as harm reduction programs was first attempted in 2008. At issue was vagueness in the wording of the law that exposed participants in the program to possible prosecution under state drug laws for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Rep. Ruth Jones-McClendon, D-San Antonio, has introduced HB 65, which would allow for pilot needle exchange programs in Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Harris, Nueces, Travis and Webb counties. It provides for the the exchange of needles and syringes, education about communicable diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and helps program participants access substance abuse and treatment and bloodborne disease testing.


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