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.
New Hampshire is also the only state in New England without a needle exchange program.
Supporters argue that a New Hampshire needle exchange program would allow intravenous drug users to trade in contaminated needles for clean ones, thus reducing the spread of diseases commonly contracted through needle sharing like HIV and AIDS. Exchanges also provide opportunities to connect drug users to treatment services.
On the other hand, opponents argue that needle exchanges are only enabling addicts to continue using drugs and it essentially decriminalizes heroin use.
Read our Citizen Voices℠ report on this issue and find out where New Hampshire stands on this issue.