HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A federal judge has temporarily halted the implementation of a law that severely restricts syringe exchange programs in West Virginia.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chambers issued the temporary restraining order Monday, prohibiting the state from enforcing Senate Bill 334. A preliminary injunction hearing has been set for July 8, a day before the new law goes into effect. The hearing will determine if the stay will continue throughout the lawsuit.
The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia filed a lawsuit Friday in the Southern District Court of West Virginia on behalf of Milan Puskar Health Right, a clinic running harm reduction services, including a syringe program, in Morgantown; Lawson Koeppel, president of the Virginia Harm Reduction Coalition, according to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office; Alina Lemire and Carrie Ware.
SB 334 established a licensure program for harm reduction programs operating syringe exchanges. Programs must offer a full array of harm reduction services, and include restrictions that go against Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards such as a 1:1 model and requiring syringes be unique to the program…