Yesterday, Governor Justice signed Senate Bill 334 into law mere hours after it hit his desk.
The legislation is cruel, unconscionable, and will prevent West Virginians from having access to vital life-affirming harm reduction services. The CDC has determined that Kanawha County is home to “the most concerning” HIV outbreak in the country right now. Science tells us that needs-based syringe service programs are a vital health tool when it comes to preventing spread of bloodborne diseases. Compassion tells us to take care of our neighbors. Our government tells us to ignore both and take our public health directives from Eric Tarr.
This legislation may be a death sentence for some of our most vulnerable West Virginians. It’s also unconstitutional. We stand with West Virginia’s harm reduction programs, public health professionals, and people who are directly impacted by injection drug use. This fight’s not over.