HB 320 -- NEEDLE EXCHANGE
CO-SPONSORS: Donovan, Bland
COMMITTEE ACTION: Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Public
Health & Safety by a vote of 9 to 7.
This bill establishes a needle exchange program to reduce the
transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by giving
sterile hypodermic needles in exchange for used ones. Other
benefits will be to encourage those in the program to seek
substance abuse counseling and treatment.
FISCAL NOTE: Estimated Net Cost to General Revenue Fund of
$167,516 for FY 1998, $207,133 for FY 1999, and $213,347 for FY
PROPONENTS: Supporters say that research has clearly
demonstrated that Needle Exchange Programs in other states have
been successful in reducing new HIV infections. HIV infection
related to injecting drug use not only impacts the individuals
who use the needles, but also their sexual partners. Clean
needles, or needles that have not been used by another person,
simply cannot transmit viruses. Research has shown that
restricting access to clean needles has very little impact to
deter individuals from injecting drugs. The effect of
restricting access has the negative impact of forcing the
behavior underground which blocks attempts to facilitate
substance abuse treatment. New technology has made single use
syringes available. If these syringes are made available
through a Needle Exchange Program in Missouri, the needles being
distributed will be safer than the needles currently available
through the pharmacy, much less the street corner. Preventing
AIDS reduces costs to communities.
Testifying for the bill were Representatives Donovan and Bland;
Cardinal Glennon Hospital; and St. Louis Effort for AIDS.
OPPONENTS: There was no opposition voiced to the committee.
Harolyn Light, Research Analyst