MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Senate Health Committee spent more than three hours Thursday hashing over a bill to license and regulate needle-exchange programs across the state.
Bill lead sponsor Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, told the committee that the intent is to curb the needle litter problem that poses a danger to the communities hosting the programs.
But a long string of physicians testified that the problem is not as prevalent as Tarr believes, and the bill would only serve to harm or even shut down the programs and worsen the spread of HIV and hepatitis that the programs seek to limit.
After hours of testimony, the committee adjourned for the night and will resume work on the bill Tuesday.
The bill is SB 344. It wold require any needle-exchange program to be licensed by Office for Health Facility Licensure and Certification. An applicant would have to supply specific descriptions of services and plans for referrals to the varieties of care intravenous drug users require…