St. Louis Public Radio News
3:14 pm
Tue March 25, 2003

Needles Proposal Passes IL Senate

Springfield, Ill. – A deeply divided Illinois Senate is backing the idea of fighting HIV by making it easier for drug users to get clean needles.

The Senate Monday voted to let people buy needles without a prescription. The measure would let adults buy up to 20 needles at a time.

The pharmacist who sells the needles would have to provide information about using them safely and about getting treatment for
addiction.

Chicago Senator Donne Trotter that when clean needles aren't available, addicts use dirty needles and spread the AIDS virus. He says his legislation will slow the spread of AIDS.

But opponents question whether it will have much effect, saying they predict it will increase the number of dirty needles thrown away in public places.

The measure now goes to the Illinois House, which has already passed similar legislation.