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‘No justification:’ Senate bill will end syringe services in West Virginia, experts say

By Taylor Stuck, The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — While Republicans say it won’t, health leaders in West Virginia say a bill passed by the state Senate last week means the end of syringe exchanges in the state, which has two of the worst HIV outbreaks in the country.

“I’m sorry that the misconception is this bill has sought compromise that would allow continued operation of syringe service programs,” said Dr. Michael Kilkenny, health officer for the Cabell-Huntington Health Department. “I do not see that harm reduction programs or syringe program aspects could continue under this if it becomes law.”

Senate Bill 334, passed by the Senate on March 9, establishes a licensing program within the state Department of Health and Human Resources for harm reduction programs operating syringe exchange programs.

All new and existing programs will need to apply to the Office for Health Facility Licensure and Certification. Programs will need to have the support of the county commission and, as amended on the floor Tuesday, the county sheriff. They will be required to pay an application fee and have a 30-day comment period…

To read more: https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/no-justification-senate-bill-will-end-syringe-services-in-wv-experts-say/article_78b2bce1-0f7d-5d56-852b-d50b73da6edb.html

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