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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