- Associated Press - Thursday, June 30, 2016

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House has given final approval to a bill authorizing the statewide expansion of a needle exchange program aimed at reducing the spread of HIV, hepatitis and other diseases.

The bill cleared the House on a 32-7 vote Thursday night after passing the Senate earlier this month.

Gov. Jack Markell praised lawmakers for approving the measure, which will expand a needle exchange program currently confined to the city of Wilmington, where drug addicts can exchange used needles and syringes for clean ones provided by the Division of Public Health.

Supporters of the bill contend it will help prevent the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B and other blood-borne diseases, while encouraging drug addicts to seek substance abuse treatment.

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