The Leon County Commissioners discussed the possibility of creating a Syringe Exchange Program (SEP) at their November 12th meeting. They voted to hold a public hearing in December to consider the draft SEP ordinance.
The Florida Legislature approved the Infectious Disease Elimination Act (IDEA) in June, which authorized SEPs. Currently, Miami-Dade is the only Florida county with a SEP, and its program has over 1000 participants.
The proposed Leon County SEP would allow injection drug users to exchange their used syringes for sterile syringes at no cost. This could help reduce rates of HIV and other infections that spread through contaminated syringes.
“HIV rates continue to go up,” said Commissioner Kristin Dozier. “I think this is a good program to help address that.”
In addition to reducing infectious diseases, SEPs aim to reduce injuries and overdoses, according to the meeting agenda. The programs also provide drug users with counseling and other tools.
If the draft ordinance is approved, establishing an SEP in Leon County will require fulfilling a series of health and safety requirements, including a letter of agreement with the Florida Department of Health and a partnership with the Leon County Health Department.
“This is really just the first step that our county would be allowed to begin the process,” said Commissioner Mary Ann Lindley. “There are a lot more steps ahead, some of them rather complicated.”
Lindley said one complication is finding an operator for the program, considering that SEPs must be funded by private grants and donations and cannot use local or state dollars. Potential operators could be a licensed hospital or medical school.
Lindley also described a change in language of the proposed ordinance, which originally identified intravenous drug users and sexual partners as the program’s target audience. The new language identifies “injection drug users.”
“That’s more inclusive,” Lindley said. “Not everyone who might participate in a needle exchange might necessarily be intravenous users.”
The draft ordinance will be further discussed at a public hearing. The Commissioners voted to schedule the only public hearing for Dec. 10, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.
Free the Weed
Why is Tallahassee Reports allowing someone to use the same name as another poster?
This Hope is perpetrating identity theft and stealing my username.
Hope ( the real Hope)
I don’t want to interrupt your two minutes hate here but in case someone’s interested in whether or not these programs actually work, this article has some good information with relevant sources: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/05/upshot/politics-are-tricky-but-science-is-clear-needle-exchanges-work.html.
TLDR: They absolutely do.
Syringe exchange programs assume many things about human nature IN ERROR: that a new syringe will save a user from disease–unlikely; that an abuser will see the exchange as a blessing that can help him/her begin the arduous task of reducing drug abuse–equally unlikely; that the expense and mechanics of SEP will not harm but help citizen-taxpayers who do not engage in dangerous behaviors–simply untrue because cast off syringes will continue to sully neighborhoods and alleyways, users will continue to commit larcenies of all levels and kinds to support their habits, dealers will continue to distribute and generate new users, and costs of the program, as well as costs of the health services that users require will continue and will continue to rise.
SEP is NOT the answer; it is a politically correct, superficial measure that merely perpetuates the problem by SEEMING to provide relief.
DON’T DO IT, COMMISSIONERS. Be logical: raise arrest rates among dealers and users to call attention to the degradation. Make users and those who pander to them look into the mirror and begin the tough work of giving up drug abuse.
Hey, let’s make it easier to be a junkie, maybe some more will move here.
I believe anyone can walk into their local pharmacy and buy a bag of insulin needles.
Why not make them by prescription only?
There is an important fact our esteemed local “leaders” may have overlooked.
When you’re trying to restrict or disincentivize any particular behavior you put strict regulations on it…but when you’re trying to encourage that behavior you make it readily available with no restrictions, you decriminalize it, and even provide “free services” to anyone who wants to participate.
It really makes you wonder where our commissioners priorities are…and have they actually gone NUTS!
P.S. Please add FSU President John Thrasher to the list of the finest of the finest in public service.
They pretend the cartel doesn’t exist, that people are starving in our community, and the state attorney’s office is prosecuting minorities as scapegoats; they’re not targeting the real problems. But, ban those straws, Mary Ann!
Look the other way at the sewage spills!
Overpay the city manager who is not qualified nor has the experience.
Funnel those Leon County tax dollars, Walt., to your campaign manager, Sean Pittman.
Elected officials continue those junkets to Amelia Island and Sandestin paid for by taxpayers.
Keep making those TV commercials mayor and reap tens of thousand dollars in free airtime.
Payout hundreds of thousands of dollars to each other for slip and falls.
Isn’t it about time for an elected official to give $1000000 or more to his or her college friend to open a restaurant?
Make Costa Rica a sister country. I’m surprised we don’t have a nonstop flight from Tallahassee to Costa Rica.
When elected officials tend to themselves to line their own pockets the results are poverty and crime.
Our only hope is our good governor and good US Attorney of the Northern District of Florida. Two exemplary examples of the finest in public service. Thank you for your service!
Well said and the TRUTH! Bravo!
Well said, Hope!
Before advocating a syringe exchange program, I’m betting Lindley conducted a straw poll.
And with all the drugs the kids are doing, surely that validates the need for the CSC, amirite?
If leftist Commissioners really care about reducing the spread of HIV they would have implemented a free condom program long ago.
The above logic is proof our Commissioners do not care about the spread of HIV but rather are just jumping on the leftist bandwagon of free needles like the government of the feces strewn Streets Of San Francisco.
Besides condoms reduce the need for the leftist holy grail of abortion.
Cant have that now ya know.
I find this latest attempt by our Commissioners to be relevant in the world of leftist political hot button subjects to be quite disingenuous and self serving.
I believe the Health Depart DOES offer Free Condoms. Just be glad it’s not a free Condom EXCHANGE Program……LOL
They must just those tiny Asian condoms that are free at the Health Department.
Because WalMart has had to start locking up the full sized American condoms.
Oh, go visit The Wall at Leon HS which has been a natorious spot if students needed to score drugs.
You know if they’d legalize pot, people might stop trying heroin.
Yeah right. First, I don’t want to see Tallahassee turn out like Denver in so many ways.
Secondly, we don’t need the legalization of a gateway drug, company especially, for our city’s children.
Third, we already have an enormous drug problem as exhibited by the continuing violent crime rate. If you don’t think so, pull your head out of the sand.
Lastly, I suggest TR provide more in-depth coverage of this drug issue: talk to offenders, talk to those in rehab (IF they can find someplace here!), talk to those on NA, and, lastly, talk to our LE beat cops!