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NJ Senate Votes to Expand Needle Exchange Program

Needles
Flickr User tschoppi

The Senate voted 25-12 for the measure Thursday. It provides clean needles to drug users in the hopes of containing the spread of HIV and other diseases.

The state’s Bloodborne Disease Harm Reduction Act, approved in 2006, is a demonstration program that authorized six cities to operate needle exchange programs: Atlantic City, Camden, Jersey City, Newark and Paterson.

The measure approved Thursday authorizes any municipality to operate a program, and appropriates $95,000 to fund it. A 2010 report from the state showed the program reduced HIV risks and increased access to drug treatment without increasing the crime rate or drug use.

The Assembly has not yet considered the measure.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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