State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer’s (R-Beech Grove) bill that would allow a county or municipality to approve the operation of a syringe exchange program without declaring a public health emergency could soon be law.
Ongoing syringe exchange programs are set to expire in 2019. House Enrolled Act 1438 would extend the current policy to the year 2021 and permit ongoing programs to be renewed for up to two years.
“This legislation is aimed at expediting the approval process municipalities must go through to operate a syringe exchange program,” Kirchhofer said. “By giving counties the control to act quickly, we can fight against outbreaks and get individuals the help they need.”
According to Kirchhofer, the state health commissioner would receive written notice when a program is renewed, expired or terminated.
The bill also requires a syringe exchange program to keep a sufficient quantity of overdose intervention drugs in stock to administer when needed.
Kirchhofer said syringe exchange programs link participants to screening and treatment for Hepatitis C and HIV, as well as substance abuse treatment. Studies over the past 30 years have demonstrated their effectiveness at reducing Hepatitis C and HIV.
House Enrolled Act 1438 now heads to the governor for consideration. If approved, the policy would become effective immediately upon passage.
Rep. Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) represents House District 89,
which includes portions of Marion County.
A high-resolution photo of Kirchhofer can be downloaded by clicking here.