Governor Terry McAuliffe Legalizes Syringe Access Programs in Virginia

Press Release February 23, 2017
Media Contact

Tommy McDonald, 510-679-2311
Kaitlyn Boecker, 402-670-3773

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed legislation this week that legalizes syringe access programs in the state. Virginia has been experiencing significant increases in opioid overdose, opioid misuse, injection drug use, and rates of HIV and hepatitis C infection. These concerning trends led Virginia’s health commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine and Governor Terry McAuliffe to declare the state’s opioid addiction crisis a public health emergency late last year.

“Increasing access to sterile syringes is essential to reducing rates of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C transmission,” said Kaitlyn Boecker, Policy Coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Establishing syringe access programs will save thousands of lives in Virginia by preventing the spread of HIV and other preventable diseases.”

Here are some quick facts about Virginia’s new law and syringe access programs:

“Thanks to the dedication of Virginia’s Health Commissioner, Governor McAuliffe and the sponsor of the syringe measure, Del. John O’Bannon, Virginia has taken a huge step toward preventing further harms from the opioid and heroin crisis,” added Boecker. “We hope this is just the beginning of broader efforts in Virginia to reduce preventable harms caused by outdated drug laws and drug misuse.”

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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