California: Counties Studying Law OK'ing Needle Sales
January 5, 2005
In California, local governments are deciding whether and how they will participate in a demonstration project authorized by a new law under which pharmacists can register to sell up to 10 sterile syringes and needles without a prescription to customers over age 18. State authorities will monitor the program's efficacy in preventing blood-borne diseases including hepatitis C and HIV.
Contra Costa Supervisors have approved the program -- the only county so far to do so. "It's not a panacea, just like needle exchange is not a panacea, but we think it will help some," said Wendel Brunner, Contra Costa's director of public health.
Pharmacies are also waiting for more details. The Walgreens chain has not decided whether to participate in the program, said spokesperson Phyllis Proffer.
Over a third of U.S. AIDS cases occurred in injection drug users, their partners or children, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In California, IV drug use accounts for 20 percent of reported AIDS cases -- the second-largest risk category.
San Jose Mercury News
01.04.05; Barbara Feder Ostrov
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.