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Apr 26, 2016 12:56 PM

NH Senate will vote on decriminalizing possession of needles with trace of opiates

NH1.com

LEE — The state Senate will decide Thursday whether to decriminalize the possession of needles with trace of opiates.

Supporters believe that this would make it easier for public health organizations to set up needle exchange programs, according to Foster's.

The bill would allow drug users the ability to exchange dirty needles for clean ones and decriminalizes possession of a syringe with a residual amount of drugs, which is a felony under current law.

State Rep. Joe Hannon, R-Lee, is an advocate of this bill. He is a doctor and he has seen studies of users getting HIV and hepatitis from reusing needles.

Hannon himself has been in recovery for addiction since he was 19. His experience, as well as his background, is why he volunteered to serve on the governor's Joint Task Force on the heroin and opioid crisis.

The bill is set to be voted on by the Senate Thursday. New Hampshire is the only New England state that does not have a needle-exchange program. If this bill passes, New Hampshire should join five other states that have decriminalized possession of residual drugs in syringes.

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