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Texas lawmaker vows to block needle-exchange legislation

Texas lawmaker vows to block needle-exchange legislation

The Republican chairwoman of the Texas house public health committee is vowing to prevent a bill that would authorize needle-exchange programs in the state from ever making it out of her committee, the San Antonio Express-News reports. The bill had been approved by the state senate's health and human services committee and is scheduled for debate by the full senate within the next two weeks. But Rep. Dianne Delisi says she will hold the bill up in the house committee. "I don't want to give free needles to known drug abusers," she told the Express-News. "They're sitting there doing drugs in the parks. Well, not in Texas. Not under my watch." Some Texas groups have grown weary of the ongoing right-wing opposition to needle exchanges and have already started local pilot programs offering clean needles to injection-drug users to help prevent HIV infections and transmissions of other blood-borne diseases. Such programs are operating in Dallas, Houston, and Austin, according to officials at AIDS Services of Austin.

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