The "simple truth about needle-exchange programs is that they save lives and save money," a San Antonio Express-News editorial says.
It continues, "Numerous research studies and practical experience with such programs around the nation demonstrate the savings," adding, "The same studies and practical experience also refute the primary rationale for opposing needle-exchange programs -- the notion that they increase" injection drug use.
This notion was the "buzz saw advocates of safe, cost-effective needle-exchange ran into during the last legislative session" in Texas, according to the editorial. However, the "same bipartisan group of lawmakers who pushed the legislation" allowing for the establishment of needle-exchange programs in the state "plans to reintroduce similar measures in the upcoming session," it says, adding that there "can be little doubt that given the opportunity for floor votes in the Senate and House, Texas will join the 49 other states in making needle-exchange programs legal."
"Along with protecting law enforcement and health care workers who frequently come into physical contact with the [IDU] community, the case for needle change is overwhelming," the editorial says, concluding, "This time, a measure that saves lives and taxpayer dollars deserves a simple up or down vote in the Legislature" (San Antonio Express-News, 12/14).
The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.