needle exchange

As opioid abuse rises across the state some lawmakers are pushing to clear the way for more needle exchange programs.  Many physicians whole-heartedly support the strategy as a way to reduce the harm of drug abuse.

An overdose revival drug called Naloxone, commonly referred to as its brand name Narcan, can be bought over-the-counter in 14 states, but Florida is not one of them.

With the state’s overdose count increasing, the University of Miami’s IDEA Exchange Center, Florida’s first public clean syringe program, has recently been distributing the revival drug for free at its base location, in 1636 NW 7th avenue in Miami.

Pia Christensen/Association of Health Care Journalists

Dr. Vivek Murthy is not only one of the youngest people ever named the U.S. Surgeon General, the 38-year-old also is the first person of Indian descent to hold the post.

But there’s one more thing: he's a Floridian.

New cases of the virus that causes AIDS are becoming less frequent throughout the United States.

But not in Florida.

Statewide, HIV infections have been increasing in recent years, with Miami-Dade and Broward counties topping the list. But a new law might help stem the tide of those new cases. For the first time, Florida has a needle-exchange program for intravenous drug users.

Scott Signs Bills For ‘Rape Kit’ Testing, Needle Exchange

Mar 24, 2016
National Institute of Health

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed nine bills, including a high-profile measure requiring local law-enforcement agencies to submit "rape kits" to be tested and another allowing the creation of a needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade County.

There’s just one hurdle left for a Miami-Dade needle exchange program.  The long-awaited pilot passed the House Wednesday.

Senate Approves Needle Exchange Program

Feb 25, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

The Florida Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a proposal that would create a needle-exchange pilot program in Miami-Dade County.

The House Health and Human services committee sent two measures to the floor that would’ve been unthinkable just a few years ago.  The full House will now consider a needle exchange pilot program and a new medical marijuana proposal.

After years of trying, lawmakers are finding success with a plan to create a needle exchange pilot program in Miami Dade County.

Needle Exchange Pilot Ready For Full Senate

Dec 5, 2015
WMFE

Hoping to stem the spread of diseases such as HIV, a Senate committee Thursday approved a long-discussed proposal that would create a pilot needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade County.

Needle Exchange Program Gets Senate Backing

Nov 19, 2015
WMFE

A Senate panel Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that would create a pilot needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade County to try to stem the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases.

Florida Lawmaker Pushes For Needle Exchange

Oct 25, 2015

The Obama Administration has a new plan to combat the abuse of heroin and prescription drugs. The president is calling for a shift away from incarceration, and towards prevention, and a Florida Democratic Representative is working on just that: a needle exchange program.

A Broward County lawmaker’s plans for a needle exchange program are gaining traction. The House Health Quality Subcommittee approved Representative Katie Edwards’ plan Tuesday for a pilot program at the University of Miami.

Senator Proposes Needle Exchange For Miami-Dade

Sep 9, 2015
WMFE

Two South Florida lawmakers are renewing an effort to create a pilot needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade County to try to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, filed a proposal (SB 242) on Tuesday, about three weeks after Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, filed a similar measure (HB 81). The bills will be considered during the 2016 legislative session, which starts in January.

hitthatswitch / Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

For the past three years, public health activists have been trying to convince Florida lawmakers to support a needle-exchange program to fight the HIV epidemic in South Florida, and for the past three years they’ve been turned down.

One Miami activist refuses to wait for lawmakers. George Gibson is an ordained minister. Nearly everyone calls him Elder as in a church elder.

He says his needle-exchange program is related to his religious work.

“I see it as being an AIDS ministry,” he said.

Drugs can play havoc on the body but for some drugs the mode of delivery can be just as dangerous.  That’s why one Florida lawmaker wants to launch a needle exchange program in Miami-Dade County.

A bill establishing a needle exchange pilot program in South Florida to help reduce HIV/AIDS is now starting to move in both chambers of the Legislature, after passing its first Senate committee Monday.

Needle-Exchange Bill Leaps Hurdles

Feb 18, 2014

 A bill creating a pilot needle-exchange program in South Florida received the unanimous backing of a Senate committee Monday, according to the Miami Herald. (paywall alert)

Next week, a House panel reviews the bill, which would provide drug users with clean needles, drug testing and vaccinations at no cost to taxpayers, the Herald says.

The state Senate Health Policy committee chair says he is willing to give a syringe exchange proposal another chance, the Florida Current reports. State Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, said the needle exchange is supported by the Florida Medical Association and would be privately funded.