North Carolina House Considering Bill That Would Create, Fund, Evaluate Needle-Exchange Programs
The North Carolina House is considering a bill (HB 411) that would create and evaluate needle-exchange programs in the state for the purpose of curbing the spread of bloodborne diseases, including HIV, among injection drug users, the Greensboro News & Record reports. State Rep. Thomas Wright (D) last month introduced the measure, which would establish needle-exchange programs in three undetermined counties, provide $550,000 annually for two years for the programs and evaluate the programs' effectiveness. Supporters of needle exchanges say the programs save lives by preventing the spread of disease and save money in the long run by eliminating the need to subsidize treatment once someone contracts a disease. However, opponents of the programs say needle exchanges encourage drug users to continue using, according to the News & Record. Currently, North Carolina law classifies needles as illegal drug paraphernalia, and there are no state-run, state-funded or state-sanctioned exchange programs. However, two needle-exchange programs are operating illegally in the state, the News & Record reports (Hardin, Greensboro News & Record, 4/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.