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Senate Approves Needle Exchange Program

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

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

The legislation (SB 242) comes as Florida leads the nation in newly diagnosed HIV cases, while Miami-Dade and Broward counties are the top two counties in the country for new HIV cases.

The measure, approved by a 37-2 vote, would allow the University of Miami to establish a privately funded program aimed at preventing the spread of diseases by intravenous drug users. The five-year pilot program would allow drug users to exchange dirty needles and syringes for clean needles and syringes.

Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, has tried for two years to get the pilot program off the ground. A companion measure (HB 81), sponsored by Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, is ready for a House floor vote.