Charleston is coming off a record year for new cases of HIV linked to injection drug use. Scientists agree that ramping up harm reduction programs, like needle exchanges, is the most effective way to make sure people aren’t sharing syringes and spreading the disease. But as this plays out in West Virginia’s capital city, a bill in the Legislature would put a number of new restrictions on the 14 needle exchanges currently operating around the state, and could effectively outlaw many of them. That would include one of the state’s most effective programs, in Morgantown.
Mountain State Spotlight reporter Lauren Peace visited that program and filed this report, which also ran on West Virginia Public Broadcasting.