A bill seeking to legalize needle exchange programs in New Hampshire passed the full Senate Thursday and now heads to the House.
A similar measure failed in the Senate last year but this time it passed on a simple voice vote.
This latest proposal still allows police officers to prosecute people found with needles with small amounts of heroin, but exempts people who are enrolled in a needle exchange program.
But some lawmakers still had reservations saying expanding access to clean needles sends the wrong message.
Senator James Gray, the bill’s main sponsor, argued evidence shows these kinds of programs do more good than harm.
“Every time someone comes in to exchange needles – every time there is another opportunity to help them,” Gray said on the Senate floor.
If it passes, the bill would let community health centers and non-profits hand out clean syringes and collect used ones as long as they are not near a school.