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HB 2317 Harm reduction programs; public health emergency, etc.

Introduced by: John M. O'Bannon, III | all patrons    ...    notes | add to my profiles

SUMMARY AS PASSED HOUSE: (all summaries)

Comprehensive harm reduction program; public health emergency. Authorizes the Commissioner of Health (the Commissioner) to establish and operate local or regional comprehensive harm reduction programs during a declared public health emergency that include the provision of sterile and disposal of used hypodermic needles and syringes. The objectives of the programs are to reduce the spread of HIV, viral hepatitis, and other blood-borne diseases in Virginia, to reduce the transmission of blood-borne diseases through needlestick injuries to law-enforcement and other emergency personnel, and to provide information to individuals who inject drugs regarding addiction recovery treatment services. The programs will be located in at-risk communities, in accordance with criteria established by the Department of Health. The bill requires the Commissioner to establish standards and protocols for the comprehensive harm reduction programs and requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Public Safety to approve such standards and protocols.

The bill also provides that the Commissioner may authorize persons who are not otherwise authorized by law to dispense or distribute hypodermic needles and syringes to do so as part of a comprehensive harm reduction program during a declared public health emergency.

The bill requires the Department of Health to submit, to the Governor and to the General Assembly, a progress report concerning any such program established under this bill by October 1, 2018, and a report evaluating the effectiveness of any such program by October 1, 2019. The bill has an expiration date of July 1, 2020.