Beitsch Provides Expert Testimony to Leon County Commission on Clean Needle Exchange Program
Leon County is set to become only the second county in Florida with a clean needle exchange program intended to reduce the transmittal of blood-borne infections and promote drug treatment. Dr. Leslie Beitsch testified before the County Commissioners that needle exchange programs lower the likelihood of prolonged addiction because of the integration of referral programs. Dr. Beitsch is a Professor and Chair of the FSU College of Medicine, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine.
Commissioners voted 6-1 in favor of the ordinance that allows the county to move forward to find a partner organization to implement a clean needle exchange program — since state law prevents government money from funding one. Miami-Dade County is currently the only municipality in the state that has a clean needle exchange program. The grant-funded program is run by the University of Miami.
While the ordinance does not make drug counseling mandatory, County Commissioner Kristen Dozier stated, “To get them in the door, just to talk to someone, is a step in the right direction."