Arizona close to legalizing needle exchange programs

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Needle exchange programs could soon be legal in Arizona. (Source: AP Photo/David Goldman) Needle exchange programs could soon be legal in Arizona. (Source: AP Photo/David Goldman)
PHOENIX (AP) -

Arizona appears poised to allow needle exchange programs for illicit drug users to be operated legally in the state for the first time.

The Senate voted 22-8 Thursday to approve the measure by Republican Rep. Tony Rivero of Peoria on Thursday. Rivero is pushing the legislation as part of an effort to cut opioid addiction and diseases spread from dirty needles.

[RELATED: Needle exchanges: Should it be legal?]

The House approved the measure 56-0 last month but will have to vote again on the measure because of a minor Senate amendment.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Opioid crisis in Arizona]

Rivero told the House Health Committee during a February hearing that needle exchange programs can draw people into treatment programs and help avoid spreading diseases.

[RELATED: Drug addicts leaving used hypodermic needles in public spaces]

There are several needle exchange programs in the state running without legal approval.

- The legislation is House Bill 2389.

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