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Md. Senate approves needle exchange expansion

Thursday - 2/6/2014, 1:40pm  ET

BRIAN WITTE
Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- The Maryland Senate has approved a measure to allow drug users to get more than one clean needle at one time in Baltimore's needle exchange program.

The Senate voted 39-5 on Thursday for the bill, which now goes to the House.

The measure repeals a requirement that needles be exchanged on a one-for-one basis. The bill does not include a specific number people could get at once, but Sen. Verna Jones-Rodwell, D-Baltimore, says supporters have a limit of about 50 in mind. She says the bill may need to be changed to reflect that. Other cities have expanded such programs to cut down on disease spread by intravenous drug use.

Baltimore's health department says the program serves about 2,500 people annually and exchanges about 200 needles for each of them.


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