NewsPublic Affairs / February 13, 2020

House Leaders Push For Short-Term Syringe Exchange Extension

Article origination IPBS-RJC
House Leaders Push For Short-Term Syringe Exchange Extension

Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany) led the charge to create Indiana's syringe exchange programs.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana House leaders say they’ll try to extend – by at least one year – local syringe exchange programs that are set to expire in 2021.

The programs are in danger of elimination after the Senate rejected an effort to extend them indefinitely.

Scott County, Indiana, was undergoing an HIV epidemic in 2015. Lawmakers responded by allowing the creation of a syringe exchange program, something eight other counties have since also implemented. And House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says those programs have been a success.

“The CDC and others have cited that as one of the reasons we were able to stem the tide,” Bosma says.

But the original legislation also eliminated the programs in state law in 2019, later extending it to July 2021. And when asked this session to extend the programs permanently, 27 Senate Republicans said no.

Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany) led the charge to create syringe exchanges. He says now, he’s just hoping to keep them alive at least a little longer.

“I think that may be the best move at this point is to work on a compromise, to try to extend the sunset by one year rather than repealing it altogether,” Clere says.

Clere points out 82 percent of syringes given out by the programs were returned.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

At WFYI, our goal is to cover stories that matter to you. Our reporting is rooted in facts. It considers all perspectives and is available to everyone. We don't have paywalls, but we do need support. So if unbiased, trusted journalism is important to you, please join us. Donate now.

 

 

Related News

2 Dead Of Virus At US Prison Where Executions Are Scheduled
Purdue, Indiana University Get Grants To Study PFAS In Rural Water
State Exploring Impact Of New Federal Eviction Moratorium