May 4, 2017 02:43 PM

Rep. Steve Pylant of Winsboro urges his colleagues in the House to sign on to his bill establishing a government-operated needle exchange for drug users.
Photo by Sarah Gamard

Half of New Orleans drug users who inject with needles suffer from hepatitis C.

That’s according to Rep. Steven E. Pylant, R-Winnsboro, who successfully guided his House Bill 250 through the House Wednesday by on a 67-24 vote. It authorizes local governments to establish needle exchange programs.

Plyant said multiple fatal diseases, such as HIV, could be treated and prevented through such programs.

“This saves the city of New Orleans,” Plyant said.

Plyant, a former sheriff in Franklin Parish, said treating such diseases is expensive for the state, and the bill would allow programs to provide safer treatment to addicts while preventing the spread of diseases through inflected needle.

Currently, state law prohibits any transaction involving drug paraphernalia, but gives an exception to products made for scientific research, medical or clinical use. Products for industrial, veterinary and agricultural use are also exempt.

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