SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To fight the opioid epidemic and subsequent surge in the spread of needle-transmitted diseases, state Rep. Terra Costa Howard, D-Glen Ellyn, is sponsoring a measure to create the Needle and Hypodermic Syringe Access Program.
“As the opioid epidemic and consequent rise in the use of heroin has continued to ravage our local communities, we have also seen a sharp increase in the spread of blood borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis,” said Costa Howard. “This is a public health crisis. Establishing a safe statewide needle and syringe exchange program is necessary help to reduce the spread of these diseases so that we can focus on combatting the root causes of drug abuse.”
Costa Howard is sponsoring Senate Bill 1828, which establishes the Needle and Hypodermic Syringe Access Program under the Department of Public Health. While needle exchange programs currently exist in several major metropolitan areas in Illinois, Costa Howard’s measure will establish a statewide standard for needle exchange programs, expanding access to suburban and rural communities.
“Opioid addiction does not discriminate against zip code, so it is critical that we expand access to safe needle exchange programs to non-metropolitan areas throughout the state,” continued Costa Howard. “It is clear that more must be done to address the opioid epidemic, and this legislation is a step in the right direction.”
For more information, contact Rep. Costa Howard’s constituent service office at RepTCH48@gmail.com or 630-812-9292.