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Needle Exchange A Potential Stumbling Block In Heroin Talks

Associated Press

One of the provisions that derailed last year’s anti-heroin bill in Frankfort is once again causing friction between the House and Senate.

Needle exchange – allowing drug users to turn in dirty needles and obtain clean ones – has support from members of the House, but the program faces a skeptical audience in the Senate.

"I think there is much concern on this side about the needle exchange. It is as if government is promoting the use of heroin by providing needles to individuals who are using that substance illegally," chamber president Robert Stivers says.

A number of federally-funded studies have shown the programs to be effective in reducing HIV and AIDS. Leading the charge on the House version of the heroin bill, Rep. John Tilley argues the science is on their side.

"We think we're trying to use the latest research, the latest evidence-based, data-driven policy that we know will work," he told reporters at a press conference announcing the bill.

Stivers says the Senate is prepared to discuss the House bill in committee, where it could go up for a vote as early as this week. 

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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