McDaniel wants tweaks to state's anti-heroin law to reflect strict needle exchanges

07/19/2015 04:53 PM

A controversial section of the state’s anti-heroin legislation is still a point of contention among lawmakers.

As communities in the state implement locally run needle exchange programs, lawmakers in Frankfort disagree with the form one of the programs has taken.

Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, along with other members of the Senate GOP caucus have taken issue with the type of exchange taking place in Louisville.

“Unfortunately what we have seen go on in Louisville is a distribution point. You don’t have to bring in dirty needles to get clean needles,” McDaniel said. “The way that this was presented to the General Assembly was a means to get those dirty needles off the street, keep users from spreading diseases, to keep first responders from being stuck with these needles.”

McDaniel’s comments come days after House Judiciary Committee Chair John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, told Pure Politics the exchange in Louisville is operating as the law intended.

As needles continue to be distributed in Louisville, McDaniel said the issues with used or dirty needles continues to expand.

“We still have those same dirty needles on the street — we just have more of them now,” McDaniel said.

“I think it’s telling that both Lexington and Northern Kentucky Health Department have said that is not the type of exchange they will be setting up — they will be setting up a true exchange,” he said.

McDaniel said that he does expect lawmakers to come back in the 2016 session and update the law to stipulate a one-to-one exchange.

“Certainly, I think it should be clarified that a needle exchange means just that — it should be an exchange program,” McDaniel said.

Some in the General Assembly, like Tilley, point to the fact that some abusers share needles and may not have their own needles to exchange in programs with strict one-to-one policies.

“I don’t want to say what the ratio or number would be, but I certainly think there are options inside of that,” McDaniel said.


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