Push to create first needle exchange pilot program in Florida - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Push to create first needle exchange pilot program in Florida

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A new push to eliminate a threat caused by heroin use is making it's way to Florida. The bill proposed would create a pilot program to prevent HIV from heroin use from impacting local communities. 

Delray Beach Fire Rescue Captain Kevin Saxton says there has definitely been an uptick in use over the years. 

"It seems its a pretty regular occurrence for just about every day, every shift that we have," said Captain Saxton. 

More people abusing the drug means an increase in the exchange of needles - dirty needles. 

"Typically used needles on scene are one of the biggest keys to us, the biggest clues for us that there has a drug overdose," added Captain Saxton.

South Florida counties are seeing an increase in the spread of HIV and that's why a new bill aims to bring  pilot program to Miami-Dade County. It would allow the University of Miami to manage the program, where at certain locations people could exchange a dirty needle for a clean one. 

"You have one of the top research facilities in the country behind this so we're going to learn a lot from this opportunity and certainly be a part of something larger moving forward," said Micah Robbins with the Palm Beach County Substance Coalition. 

Robbins says despite criticism that this program would increase drug use, research show it has reduced the HIV rates in San Francisco and other areas using it. He believe it would have a positive impact in our communities. 

"It's reducing the risk for the greater population," added Robbins.

The bill has to pass one more committee before it's sent to the House floor for a vote. 

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