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Relating to the establishment by certain counties and hospital districts of disease control pilot programs to reduce the risk of certain infectious and communicable diseases; authorizing fees.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 3233 would expand a pilot program currently in Bexar County to now include Dallas, El Paso, Harris, Nueces, Travis, and Webb counties. This pilot program's intent is to reduce the spread of certain infectious and communicable diseases by implementing a needle and syringe exchange program. Individuals participating in this program would not be criminally liable for the possession of drug paraphernalia. The bill would allow organizations who want to participate in the program to be charged a fee, program participants could also be charged a fee up to 150% of the organization's cost for the purchase of the needle or syringe.
Texas Action opposes HB 3233 because it violates the principles of personal responsibility and limited government. The legality of an action should not be based on whether or not an individual participates in a government program. If possession of drug paraphernalia is a criminal offense, the law should be equally applied to all. A government program that would create special privileges by exempting certain people from the law is not the proper function of government. Also, any person who enables another to continue a habit that is detrimental to their wellbeing, regardless of the reason, shares in the responsibility of what happens when the person continues to harm themselves. There is no reason for government to spend taxpayer dollars to enable a drug user to continue using drugs.