4
| News |

Syringe exchange bill passes Senate, House

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

A bill to legalize syringe exchange programs in Colorado has passed the state legislature and is now headed to Governor Bill Ritter's desk. Ritter was a vocal supporter of needle exchanges when he was Denver's district attorney in the 1990s, and we've asked his spokesman if the governor plans to sign the bill. (We'll update this blog when and if we hear back.)

The signs are encouraging.

Lead sponsor Senator Pat Steadman, a Denver Democrat, told Westword that he collaborated on the bill with the governor's staff. And the state's chief medical officer, Ned Calogne, testified in favor of it at a hearing before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee last month. The bill went on to pass the Senate, and received approval yesterday from the House.

If the bill is given the final go-ahead, syringe exchange programs would be legal as early as August, effectively eliminating the need for underground exchanges like the one Westword profiled last year. Instead, a county or district board of health could commission an exchange program, which would swap injection drug users' dirty needles for clean ones to prevent the spread of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.