Delaware House Passes Bill That Would Establish Needle-Exchange Program in Wilmington; Gov. Minner Expected To Sign Into Law
The Delaware House on Thursday voted 23-15 to approve a bill (SB 60) that would establish a five-year pilot needle-exchange program in Wilmington in an effort to curb the spread of HIV and other bloodborne diseases, the Wilmington News Journal reports (Barrish, Wilmington News Journal, 6/29). The bill would require a state Division of Public Health van to travel to areas of the city where drug use is known to be an issue and offer injection drug users clean needles in exchange for used needles. Participants in the program would be offered HIV testing, counseling and referral to treatment programs (Chase, Associated Press, 6/29). The program will cost $315,000 in its first year. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner (D) has said she would "be happy" to sign the bill, which was approved by the state Senate last year. Delaware and New Jersey are the only states without needle-exchange programs. Injection drug use is a primary cause of HIV infection in Delaware, which had the sixth-highest AIDS prevalence rate of any state in 2004, according to the News Journal (Wilmington News Journal, 6/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.