From 2001 to 2015, the number of opioid-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits in Missouri more than doubled, indicating that the use of injection drugs such as heroin and fentanyl has risen drastically. This development has put individuals who use injection drugs at increased risk of contracting blood borne infections, such as HIV or hepatitis C, through the use of contaminated syringes. While surveillance of injection drug-related infectious diseases is difficult, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designated Missouri as a state with significant risk of outbreaks of hepatitis C or HIV due to injection drug use. As such, they have issued a determination of need for syringe access programs in the state. SB 690 and HB 1844, filed in 2022, would allow syringe access programs to operate in Missouri. These programs must register with the Department of Health and Senior Services in order to avoid violating laws prohibiting the manufacture, distribution, delivery, or sale of drug paraphernalia. New exchanges would be prohibited from operating within 500 feet of a school building.
This Note has been updated. You can access the previous version (published December 2020) here.