On Tuesday, the Senate passed bill 344 which would require any needle exchange program in West Virginia to obtain a license through the state.
There are a number of requirements and regulations throughout the bill that a program must have in order to acquire a license. Some of those requirements include having HIV and STD screening, offering long-term birth control and drug abuse treatment at every visit. It also would require a one-to-one model, meaning when one needle is given to a person, that same person must return that needle to get a new one.
Power would also be placed in the hands of the county sheriff as to whether a needle exchange program is allowed in the county.
The bill requires a “letter of support” from the county commission and the sheriff. The sheriff may ultimately veto the program.
The license would only needed for those areas which wish to operate a needle exchange program. The license is not necessary for other harm reduction programs.
The bill now heads to the House for review.