Houses Passes Bill To Extend Syringe Exchanges

Mar 3, 2020

Credit FILE PHOTO: Jake Harper/Side Effects

Indiana’s syringe exchange programs are one step closer to staying open another year. The Indiana House passed a bill Tuesday that includes language to extend the programs.

The program is currently set to expire next July. A proposal to extend that date died in committee earlier in the session. House lawmakers last week brought it back by inserting that language into another bill. 

Rep. Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville) supports the bill and says the program’s been successful in her district.

“This has made a profound impact in my community on reducing HIV and hepatitis rates,” Fleming says.

Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) says without an extension, a majority of the syringe exchanges would end next July. The rest would end when their current authorization expires. 

“There are six of the nine local programs that need the extension to continue their services because the renewals are good through July 2021,” Kirchhofer says.

Another bill that establishes a statewide database of health costs passed unanimously. Both bills are headed back to the Senate for a vote.

Contact Darian at dbenson@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @helloimdarian.

If you appreciate this kind of journalism on your local NPR station, please support it by donating at:  https://wvpe.thankyou4caring.org/