Smart Needle Exchange Reform Bill Moving in Maryland
The Maryland Senate today moved to undo a restriction in existing state law that prevents injection drug users from picking up more clean needles at the Baltimore needle exchange than they turn in.
The bill doesn't include a specific limit on the number of needles can pick up at one time, but one of the bill's supporters, Sen. Verna Jones-Rodwell (D-Baltimore), said 50 might be a good number, and that the bill may be amended to get specific.
The bill is supported by the entire Baltimore Senate delegation as well as the city of Baltimore. The health department there says the city's needle exchange program serves about 2,500 people a year and exchanges about 200 needles for each one.
Needle exchanges are a proven means of reducing the transmission of HIV, Hep C, and other blood-borne illnesses among injection drug users.
Good on the Maryland Senate for moving to get rid of this mindless restriction.