Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is urging the legislature to pass a bill that would allow permanent needle exchanges in some Indiana counties.
Zoeller heads the state’s Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, and he cited concerns over the ongoing HIV crisis in Scott County. So far, more than 130 people have tested positive for HIV since just December. A majority of the cases have been linked to injection drug use.
To combat the HIV epidemic, Governor Mike Pence has allowed for a temporary needle exchange to operate in Scott County. Exchanges allow drug users to trade dirty needles for clean ones and help prevent the spread of HIV.
Zoeller says the governor’s emergency response was a good start, but that a longer-lasting legislative change is needed to prevent future outbreaks.
The final details of the bill are still being worked out, and it will have to clear both chambers in the legislature before reaching the governor’s desk. The legislative session ends next week.