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Indiana State Health Commissioner Testifies In Support Of Syringe Exchange Bill
Updated March 23, 2017 7:09 AM | Filed under: Health
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana State Health Commissioner Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H., testified in favor of a bill that would give local officials the ability to establish a syringe exchange program without first seeking state approval, noting that the programs are already locally run and that local officials are best positioned to identify community needs and know what their communities will support.

Dr. Adams' testimony on House Bill 1438 occurred nearly two years after syringe exchanges were first allowed in Indiana in response to an HIV outbreak among people who inject drugs in Scott County.

Highlights of Dr. Adams' remarks to the Indiana Senate health and provider services committee include:

  • Requiring the state health commissioner's approval for a syringe exchange program that is locally run can unnecessarily impede a community's ability to respond to a health crisis.
  • Progress has been made by local leaders, residents, health professionals and non-profit groups in Scott County since a syringe exchange was first authorized in 2015, including a 73 percent viral suppression rate, 150 people receiving treatment for substance use disorder and hundreds of people being connected to health insurance, medical care and other vital services.

"When Indiana first approved syringe exchange programs, we drew heavily on best practices from other states while we gained experience," Dr. Adams said. "We now have two years of data under our belts and know that local control is the best option. This bill recognizes the hard work and dedication of our health partners across the state and empowers local communities to be more nimble in responding to public health threats created in part by the opioid crisis."

Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov for important health and safety information, or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.



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