facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Maryland Considering Unlimited Free Needles For Heroin Users

The bill would spend $250,000 in tax payer dollars to provide clean needles to intravenous drug users, which predictably has aroused conservative ire.

Image: 

Needle exchange in Baltimore City. Photo via

By McCarton Ackerman

03/21/14

| Share

A new bill being pondered in the Maryland General Assembly would offer free needles to heroin users. The bill has already made it through the Maryland House of Delegates and the Maryland General Assembly, with supporters arguing that providing unlimited needles will greatly reduce HIV rates. If approved, roughly $250,000 of taxpayer money would go toward the project.

But Republican Delegate Michael Hough has found it outrageous that the bill has any support. “My constituents work very hard for their taxpayer dollars that they pay to the state, and they expect it to go to things like roads and schools, not to facilitating and subsidizing illegal drug use,” he said. "Heroin is a major epidemic. Kids are dying left and right. In fact, fatalities from heroin overdoses are up 54 percent across the state, and I just find it completely ridiculous and irresponsible that state lawmakers would vote to subsidize illegal behavior and vote to give people free needles [for] a drug that's killing people."

The harm reduction approach, which has been adopted for years in Vancouver, B.C., has shown promising results. A 15-year study published last June showed that the city’s efforts reduced illegal drug use and improved public safety. Almost 40 percent of users reported sharing needles in 1996; that number dropped to 1.7 percent in 2011. The percentage of users who accessed methadone treatment also jumped from 12 to 54 percent during that time period.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that Insite, Canada’s first legal supervised injection site, could remain open, but new federal legislation will make it much harder for similar sites to open in the future.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

Reflections
 
 
 
 

This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea
 
 
 
 

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu
 
 
 
 

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv