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With No Debate, N.H. House Backs Needle Exchange Program


The House of Representative backed a measure without debate  Thursday to legalize needle exchange programs in New Hampshire.

The bill allows non-profits and health centers to hand out clean syringes in exchange for used ones. Currently this is against the law in New Hampshire.

It’s also illegal to have small amounts of drugs on a used needle — that’s currently a felony. But under the bill, the possession of “trace” amounts of drugs will be dropped to a misdemeanor and those enrolled in a needle exchange program would be exempt. 

Former state rep. Joe Hannon was in charge of the commission that helped draft this bill.

“I’m thrilled - I think this is going to be a life-saving thing for people in NH, it’s going to prevent disease, help some people get into recovery and clean up the streets and parks for our kids and families,” Hannon said.

The Senate passed a similar proposal in March. If the two bodies can resolve those differences, the bill heads to Gov. Chris Sununu, who’s said he supports needle exchange programs.

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