Policy & Politics
California: Still Hope for Fresno County Needle Exchange to Go Mainstream
September 19, 2011
Organizers of a 17-year-old needle-exchange program in Fresno County were disappointed when the Board of Supervisors voted recently not to give the NEP permission to operate legally, meaning it can do little outreach and no advertising. However, two bills awaiting action by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) could grant the project legitimacy. A measure proposed by Assembly member Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) would give the state Department of Public Health, not just local officials, the power to legally authorize NEPs. Also, a bill by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) would permit doctors and pharmacists to legally dispense needles to drug users. Dallas Blanchard, director of the Fresno NEP, said its lack of legal standing has interfered with efforts to secure a permanent location and to pair it with recovery services and medical assistance. Brown has "been talking about how veto-happy he is, so we're a little concerned," Blanchard said, though he added, "neither of these [bills] cost the state any money."
Underground Health Care: A Fresno, Calif., Needle-Exchange Program Still Operates After County Supervisors Back Away From Legalizing It
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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