TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – House members began moving forward Wednesday with a renewed effort to approve a pilot needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade County.READ MORE: Gov. DeSantis Says People 60 And Older Eligible For COVID-19 Vaccine Beginning Next Week
The House Health Quality Subcommittee voted 10-2 to approve a bill which would allow the University of Miami to establish a program that would offer clean needles and syringes to intravenous drug users in exchange for used needles and syringes.
Supporters said the program would help reduce the transmission of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. Sponsor Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, said the House approved a Miami-Dade pilot program last year but that the proposal died at the end of the legislative session.READ MORE: Major Food Distribution Groups Still Scrambling To Keep Up With Demand A Year Into Pandemic
Rep. Kristin Jacobs, D-Coconut Creek, said the exchange program also could help prevent used needles from being discarded in places such as parks, where children can find them.
Edwards said the program, which would expire in 2020, would not receive state funding.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, questioned whether county money could go to the program. Gaetz and Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, cast the dissenting votes.MORE NEWS: Jackson Health System Expanding Criteria For COVID-19 Vaccinations
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.