Republican Senator Bob Deuell passed his needle exchange bill from the Senate today, despite opposition from his own party and Texas Eagle Forum president Cathie Adams. Voting no were Republicans Craig Estes, Troy Fraser, Joan Hoffman, Steve Ogden, Dan Patrick, Florence Shapiro and Tommy Williams.
“I know this is a difficult vote. It shows up on scorecards and we have people who oppose this despite the facts,” Deuell acknowledged. But he urged passage, citing statistics showing that needle exchange bills save the government money by reducing HIV and hepatitis.
The bill passed the Senate last session and died in the House. Duell says he thinks he has a better chance this session of passing the measure in the House, despite opposition from the Republican Party. He said he met during the interim with the party’s platform committee, and presented its members with research and statistics. Duell say some programs have been able to get 20 percent of the participating addicts to enter rehabilitation programs.