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Policy & Politics

New Laws Make Fresno, Calif., Needle Exchange Legal

October 12, 2011

The operators of the Fresno Needle-Exchange Program (FNEP) say newly signed legislation will help legitimize the underground group, making it easier to attract funding and expand services.

Last month, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted against official approval of FNEP, which has operated since 1994. But AB 604, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday, gives the state authority to sanction an exchange when the California Department of Public Health identifies a health risk, and local governments are not willing to give their consent.

"Currently, all it takes is one complaint from an overzealous resident to get us shut down," said Dallas Blanchard, director of FNEP. "Having this legislation removes that fear. ... Now we can look forward."

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See Also
California's Governor Signs Two Bills That Promote Needle Exchange and Harm Reduction
Ask Our Expert, David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., About Substance Use and HIV
Needle Exchange & HIV/AIDS: California

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