Maryland House Passes Needle Exchange Expansion

The Maryland House of Delegates has passed a measure to allow drug users to get more than one clean needle at one time in Baltimore's needle exchange program.

The House voted 84-51 Friday for the bill.

The measure repeals a requirement that needles be exchanged on a one-for-one basis. It would limit new needles to 10 for one used one.

Other cities have expanded such programs to cut down on diseases like AIDS that spread by intravenous drug use.

The state Senate also has passed a similar bill, but it does not name a specific number of needles that could be obtained at one time.

A state analysis estimates costs to the city's health department would rise by $19,500 in the next fiscal year with the change in the program.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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