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Rapid HIV spread in drug users leads Indiana to declare public health emergency

Indiana’s governor declared a public health emergency today because of an outbreak of HIV among people who inject a prescription painkiller, an opiate sold as Opana, The Indianapolis Star reports. Governor Mike Pence explained that the state recently has had 79 confirmed cases linked to people who injected the drug in one county. That county typically only has about five new infections documented each year. Indiana does not support needle and syringe exchange programs, which studies have shown dramatically slow spread in people who inject drugs. Pence has given local officials permission to launch one for the short term.