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Summary: According to the Committee Report, interested parties say preventing the spread of infectious diseases from infected needles costs less than funding treatment after infection. They contend that a disease prevention program that disposes of used needles will reduce contraction of blood borne infectious diseases in intravenous drug users and people that come into contact with their needles. Such programs require trained personnel and volunteers to distribute clean needles and safe kits to curb the spread of infectious disease. HB 3238 would allow Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Harris, Nueces, Travis, and Webb Counties and hospital districts in those counties to establish and operate such pilot programs.
Analysis: While reducing the amount of blood borne infectious disease among intravenous drug users and people who come into contact with them is a laudable goal, and an effort that could reduce expenses to taxpayers by staving off needle-borne illness and treatment, it is not a legitimate role of government to use any taxpayer dollars to enable a drug user. This is an issue that should be taken on by private charities, not by government that finances itself with resources from taxpayers who might object to this program. This legislation would use taxpayer dollars to provide clean syringes to drug users. Vote "no," on HB 3238 because it would require an expansion of government using taxpayer dollars to enable drug users.