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California
assembly passes needle-exchange bill

California
assembly passes needle-exchange bill

Lawmakers approve bill clarifying spending on needle-exchange programs

The California assembly this week voted 45-34 in favor of a bill that clarifies state policy on needle-exchange programs that aim to prevent HIV infections among injection-drug users. The bill, introduced by assemblyman John Laird, was backed by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Drug Policy Alliance Network, states that local public agencies can use state HIV prevention and education funds for needle exchanges and that local agencies can use state funds to purchase hypodermic needles for the programs. "Needle-exchange programs work--they save lives, protect communities, and result in significant savings for the taxpayer," said Laird in a press statement. "This bill will ensure continued access to these important public-health programs." The bill now moves to the state senate, where a policy committee is expected to address it later this month. (The Advocate)

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