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Should NH implement a needle exchange program?


Representative Lino Avellani, R - Sanbornville, is sponsoring HB 610, a bill that would implement needle exchange programs in New Hampshire. Avellani's bill would only authorize needle exchanges operated by AIDS service organizations, substance abuse treatment providers, or licensed healthcare providers.  The exchanges would be privately funded. Currently, syringes found with any traces of heroin or a controlled substance are grounds for felony charges. There are therefore currently no legal needle exchange sites for drug users in the Granite State. Read more about this issue here. 

"Should NH implement a needle exchange program?"

Discussion held on Citizens Count NH website and Facebook page January 24, 2017

138 citizens responded 52 citizens were in favor of implementing a needle exchange program47 citizens were opposed to implement a needle exchange program 39 citizens commented on related questions or issues
What Participants Said

No: 52 citizens were opposed to authorizing needle exchange programs in New Hampshire.

  • “No. Seems more and more instead of fighting this, we're embracing it.”
  • “Giving away needles to junkies on the tax payers dime for drug use sends the wrong message.”
  • “Why should the government of New Hampshire take an interest in making heroin usage safer for drug users?”

Yes: 47 citizens were in favor of authorizing needle exchange programs in New Hampshire.

  • “Needle exchanges are extremely important in combatting the Hep C and HIV epidemics.”
  • “Yes. If a private or charity group wishes to fund and run an exchange, fine, but no public funds should be used to support such an effort.”
  • “Drug users are going to use no matter what needles they have. This prevents the spread of diseases as well as stops people from just dropping nasty needles on playgrounds for kids to find.”

Other: 39 citizens addressed their comments to related questions and issues.
These included:

  • Availability of needles: “Packages of 10 syringes are sold in pharmacies without a prescription for around $5.”
  • Drug policy: “Legalize marijuana and watch the use of heroin decline rapidly.”
  • Uncertainty: “I’d have to think about this… these folks need help, but the dealer should be punished more.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

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