Published On: Mon, Jun 20th, 2016

Lives are on the line — support access to needle exchange programs

Here is one concrete thing you can to do to address the opioid epidemic and save lives: Please ask the FY17 Conference Committee to preserve Senate budget Section 87 in its final report.

Needle exchange programs are one of the most effective interventions to the opioid epidemic. They reach active users in the midst of their addiction and serve as an entry point into substance abuse detox, treatment and HIV testing.

Unfortunately, these programs are restricted by outdated laws rooted in stigma — the very stigma against injection drug users that has contributed to the explosion of the opioid crisis. Senate Budget Section 87 removes the ten program cap on DPH programs and empowers local health departments to establish programs where they are most needed.

Please weigh in with the Conference Committee. Ask that their final report preserve Senate budget Section 87. Our laws should assist, not hinder or limit, public health programs to counter the opioid epidemic.