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Palm Beach Co. adopts needle-exchange program

Posted at 4:13 PM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 19:14:28-04

Palm Beach County says it has adopted a needle exchange program. Governor Ron DeSantis signed a needle-exchange bill into law last week.

"Research shows that programs like these help reduce the prevalence of blood-borne diseases associated with the reuse of contaminated needles and syringes, and increases entry into substance use disorder treatment centers," Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay said in a statement. "We are excited to be the first county in Florida to pass an ordinance that enables us to establish this type of program. This will prove to be an effective and integral component to our effort to prevent HIV/AIDS and opioid overdoses."

There were 647 opioid-related deaths in Palm Beach County in 2017, according to the county

Critics say needle exchange programs encourage the use of syringes among drug users.

Miami-Dade County started a successful pilot program more than two years ago.

When it's up and running, Palm Beach County said it expects to offer free one-to-one exchange of clean, unused hypodermic syringes for used syringes and needles to help prevent the transmission of HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis C, and/or other blood-borne diseases.

Information from the AP supplemented this report.