June 5, 2020: State Advocacy Update


Updated AMA model state legislation regarding needle and syringe services programs (SSP) includes new provisions to help increase access to sterile needles and syringes as well as provide liability protections for SSPs.

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The AMA updated the model bill to ensure state medical societies had a detailed rationale to support SSPs, including the evidence-base and public health benefits. The model bill also provides for enhanced Good Samaritan protections; formation and operating requirements for SSPs; and urges states to ensure funding is provided for the stability for SSPs' continued operation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how SSPs are having challenges in continuing operations. As part of its state recommendations concerning harm reduction, the AMA recommends that states ensure continuity of syringe services programs, including provision of PPE. This includes expanding PPE priority to include harm reduction organizations and other community-based groups that provide services to people who inject drugs to help protect against the spread of infectious disease. The AMA also recommends that states implement, as part of an Executive Order or other initiative, specific policies to increase access to sterile needle and syringe exchange services. The state of Maine provides a good example. The AMA urges states to consider introducing the model bill when state legislatures come back into session. For more information or for a copy of the model bill, please email the AMA Advocacy Resource Center.