Why permit needle exchanges?

March 27, 2015



by Anna Almendrala for the Huffington Post


To combat an outbreak of new HIV transmissions linked to injectable prescription drug abuse, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence issued an executive order today allowing local officials to establish a short-term needle exchange program.


Needle-exchange programs, which give people who abuse an injectable drug the opportunity to exchange dirty needles for clean ones without fear of legal consequence, are banned by state law. But in declaring a public health emergency, Pence can get around the ban in an effort to put a halt to a rash of recent HIV diagnoses -- 71 confirmed cases and nine preliminary cases (cases that need to be confirmed with additional testing) linked to the abuse of prescription drugs.


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