Missouri health director supports needle exchange - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Missouri health director supports needle exchange

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's health department director says he wants lawmakers to pass legislation for a needle-exchange program in the state.

Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams on Wednesday said providing intravenous drug users with clean syringes could reduce needle-sharing that spreads hepatitis C and HIV. His comments came after he and other experts talked about ways to fight the deadly opioid crisis in Missouri during a conference in Columbia.

Williams said the potential health benefits outweigh concerns that a needle exchange could enable drug use. He said there's no evidence that would happen.

Several Indiana counties launched needle exchanges following an HIV outbreak in a southern Indiana county.

Williams said he also supports Missouri lawmakers requiring continuing education for prescribing opioids and managing pain.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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