NewsPublic Affairs / January 31, 2017

House Approves Syringe Exchange Bill, Sends It To Senate

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
House lawmakers approved legislation to make it easier for locals to establish syringe exchange programs. - Lauren Chapman/IPB

House lawmakers approved legislation to make it easier for locals to establish syringe exchange programs.

Lauren Chapman/IPB

House lawmakers approved legislation to make it easier for locals to establish syringe exchange programs.

The General Assembly first allowed the creation of syringe exchange programs in 2015. They have demonstrated some success. In Scott County, the first program, 96 percent of needles have been returned.

The legislation would speed up the approval process, allowing counties and municipalities to create programs without state approval.

Lawmakers in opposition include Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth). He says it does more harm than good.

“We’re also doing the tourniquets; we’re also giving them the cooking trays. So not only that, I feel like that we’re enabling,” Arnold says.

And Attorney General Curtis Hill has voiced the same concerns. But bill author Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Indianapolis) disagreed with Hill’s perspective on the House floor.

“I think his preference is to attack the abuse and overuse problem by way of law enforcement,” Kirchhofer says. “And I, on the other hand, and the colleagues on the health committee – and the governor – feel that this needs more of a public health approach.”

The House approved the bill 72 to 26, sending it to the Senate.

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