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Nebraska lawmakers pass bill aimed at helping with addiction, Gov. Pillen says he plans to veto it

By McKenzy Parsons

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    LINCOLN, Nebraska (KETV) — Omaha Sen. Megan Hunt’s priority bill for the 2024 session passed through the legislature.

LB 307 would allow counties or municipalities to start a syringe service program.

It would allow local governments, like city councils, to authorities public or behavioral health programs to provide sterile needles and a place to safely get rid of used syringes.

Participation in these programs is voluntary.

The program is intended to reduce the risk of disease transmission and other harm.

“The research shows us that this is going to lower rates of the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C as well as get people connected with programs like ours where they start to develop relationships so that if and when they become ready to seek out treatment that they already have those established relationships,” said Dr. Paul Ryan Carruthers, Chief Clinical Officer of Centerpointe.

Centerpointe is an addiction treatment center with sites in both Omaha and Lincoln.

Carruthers testified in support of the bill.

He said it would allow places like Centerpointe to take their services one step further.

The program would be required to provide people with information on social services and mental health care.

Language in the bill prevents the syringe program from being located within 500 feet of schools or community recreation centers.

Gov. Jim Pillen said he plans to veto the bill, saying the bill leaves communities with health and safety issues like keeping public areas and neighborhoods free of litter from syringes.

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