Pa. Law Prohibits Needle Exchanges That Can Save Lives

Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians crave daily injections of heroin. Beyond the threat of overdose is the threat of being exposed to HIV and hepatitis C, both deadly and expensive illnesses that are easily spread through contaminated needles.

But in Pennsylvania, distributing sterile syringes is a criminal act.

For years, Dianna Pagan feared that giving out clean syringes in Reading would land her in jail. Officials there recently agreed to let her needle exchange operate, though she’s faced numerous setbacks for more than a decade, including being shut down following the threat of prosecution.

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