A new law in Virginia will permit health departments to provide clean needles to drug addicts in order to help decrease the spread of disease.
The new legislation, signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D-Va., is meant to prevent drug addicts from spreading infections and disease by sharing needles with other people, according to Laura Kornegay, the health director at Central Shenandoah Health District.
“A lot of that is driven by an increase in IV heroin use. So we have concerns from a public health aspect about transmission of hepatitis B and hepatitis C with reuse of needles," Dr. Kornegay told WHSV.
Dr. Kornegay said that drug addicts visiting the health department looking for clean needles will give health officials the opportunity to test the addicts for diseases or push them toward drug therapy.
At least 1,420 people died in Virginia in 2016 from drug overdoses, according to The Washington Post.
The controversial bill will become law July 1.