Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Time for a State Needle Exchange

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

There is a new war between the states — in the south. This is not, as some of my southern friends call it, a “war of northern aggression.” This war is between the states and the federal government.

Several states have passed statutes that allow needle-exchange programs to be developed and implemented. As of today, 24 states have legal needle exchanges.

With the exception of Louisiana, the South and many of the northwest and central states have not implemented needle exchange programs to reduce HIV and hepatitis infections. They did nothing despite the spread of injectable-drug related fatal diseases in those states.

Florida is trying once again to follow those other states. Sen. Oscar Branyon II, D-Miami Gardens, has reintroduced a bill that died in 2013, now called CS/SB 408, and Rep. Mark Pafford, D-W. Palm Beach, filed the House companion bill, CS/HB 491, that establish pilot syringe-exchange programs.

Both have already unanimously passed their first committees.

It’s about time.