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AG: No Dirty Needles Needed For Exchange

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Josh James
/
WUKY

Needle exchanges that distribute clean needles to heroin addicts without receiving dirty paraphernalia in return are not violating Kentucky law – that’s the opinion handed down by the Attorney General’s office Monday.

An intensely debated provision in 2015’s landmark heroin bill passed by the Kentucky General Assembly, needle exchanges remain a point of contention with lawmakers disagreeing over the legislature’s intended definition of “exchange.”

One side, largely made up of Republicans, contend the Louisville Metro Dept. of Health disregarded the letter and spirit of the new law by opening up their exchange to addicts with no used syringes to offer in return.

"What was authorized as an exception to the paraphernalia statute was a true needle exchange, not just a needle distribution point and unfortunately what we've seen go on in Louisville is a distribution point," Sen. Chris McDaniel told cn|2 earlier this year.

But the statement from the chief law enforcement official’s office contends that exchanges only require “a transfer of interests in consideration for each other,” not an exact “quid pro quo.”

WUKU reached out to Senate President Robert Stivers, who had requested the opinion but could not obtain a comment Monday. A press statement is expected soon.

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