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Senate Poised To Pass Needle Exchange Expansion

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The Senate is inching closer to approving a bill that would allow hospitals, clinics, medical schools and substance-abuse treatment programs to begin offering needle-and-syringe exchange programs to reduce the spread of diseases such as HIV.

The Senate on Thursday took up a measure (SB 800), filed by Minority Leader Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, that would expand statewide a 2016 law that enabled the University of Miami to operate a needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade County.

The Senate could vote on the bill next week. Between Dec. 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017, the Miami-Dade program provided 44,497 clean, unused syringes in exchange for 50,509 used syringes. It’s similar to a House measure (HB 579), which is waiting to be heard by the Health & Human Services Committee.