California's Governor Signs Two Bills That Promote Needle Exchange and Harm Reduction
October 11, 2011
While most states have not historically supported needle exchange programs to reduce HIV and hepatitis infections, California Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed two bills giving IV drug users more access to clean syringes. The first bill Brown signed allows for people to buy syringes at pharmacies without a prescription, and the second bill allows the state to approve needle exchange programs in high risk areas.
As the bill made its way to the governor's desk, the issue was playing out in real time in Fresno, which has one of the highest rates of IV drug use in the country.
Back in June, TheBody.com reported on an L.A. Times staff editorial that supported SB 41, the bill that called for pharmacies to sell syringes without a prescription. The paper stated:
The department estimates that the sharing of syringes is the source of 3,000 cases of hepatitis C and 750 cases of HIV each year in California. Access to new syringes also helps prevent the spread of hepatitis B and other blood-borne diseases. It makes economic sense because it prevents diseases that are expensive to treat; customers pay for their own syringes, which cost about a quarter each.
Perhaps Brown was paying attention.
Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
Underground Health Care: A Fresno, Calif., Needle-Exchange Program Still Operates After County Supervisors Back Away From Legalizing It
This article was provided by TheBody.com.
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