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California Gov. Brown Signs Needle Access Bills

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has signed into law a pair of bills that will expand access to clean needles and help prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C infections in the state. The move is winning him kudos from drug reformers and public health advocates.

Badly needed needle exchanges could be coming to more CA counties under a bill just signed by Gov Brown. (wikimedia.org)
The first bill, Senate Bill 41, sponsored by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), makes legal the sale of syringes at pharmacies without a prescription. An earlier pilot program allowing such sales had been in effect in some counties and has proven effective at reducing needle-sharing, but most counties did not participate. Now, once the bill goes into effect on January 1, people will be able to buy syringes without a prescription at pharmacies statewide.

The second bill, AB 604, sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), allows the California Department of Public Health to authorize new needle exchange programs after consultation with local public health and law enforcement. Currently, needle exchange programs are only authorized after county officials declare a public health emergency, and the political will to do that has been lacking in some counties. This bill allows public health officials to take the initiative instead of waiting for elected officials. It, too, will go into effect on January 1.

"I am directing the department to administer AB 604 in a constrained way, working closely not only with local health officers and police chiefs, but with neighborhood associations as well," said Gov. Brown in his signing statement. "I believe that AB 604 can reduce the spread of communicable diseases and the suffering they cause and, at the same time, respect public safety and local preference."

"This is a huge victory for public health and common sense," said Laura Thomas, Deputy Director of California for the Drug Policy Alliance. "Now all Californians will have the same access to proven, effective HIV and hepatitis C prevention. This gives drug users the tools that they need to protect their health and that of their partners, children, and communities, as well as protecting the California taxpayer from the cost of HIV and hepatitis C infections."

Sacramento, CA
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Who needs exchange when you can buy?

Can someone explain to me the relevance of exchange programs in states where you can buy syringes OTC?

Needle sharing for harder

Needle sharing for harder drugs (like heroin) is a huge problem, and leads to the rampant spread of HIV and other STIs like Hepatitis C. These cost hundreds of thousands of dollars on treatment. On the other hand, needles are really, really cheap. Get junkies to pay for it, junkies don't get HIV, and they don't need to be treated.

It's not better than getting them off smack to begin with, but it's a cheap and effective way to eliminate one of the biggest dangers involved in doing it. Plus, the junkies themselves are footing the bill!

Erm, totally misread the

Erm, totally misread the question. Needle Exchange programs offer an even stronger incentive than just OTC needles because the new ones are either free or heavily discounted. Drugs, among a myriad of other things, tend to be very expensive, so making the needles easy to acquire even if you're broke is a pretty big deal.

WHAT THE ^&%# ?

WHAT THE ^&%# ?

 

WhAt the heck are these people thinking ? Give FREE needles to drug addicts ?

 

Question: IF NEEDLES ARE THE NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF THE AIDS VIRUS BEING TRANSMITTED;

 

THEN HOW IS GIVING DRUG ADDICTS FREE NEEDLES GOING TO STOP DRUG ADDICITON ?

 

you know they will share those needles; I THINK THIS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL ! ! !

 

LEADING CITIZENS DOWN THE PATH OF HARD CORE DRUG ADDICTION...

 

AND THEN OUTLAWING THE MEDICINAL MARIJUANa HERB....STOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPIID !

CRAZY,,,

so in other words intravenous drug addictions is "legal...

but smoking a medicinal marijuana herbal cigarette is against the law

America is "screwed ! WE DON'T WANT IV NEEDLES IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS; SPREADS AIDS...IMO

OH MY GOD YOU ARE A

OH MY GOD YOU ARE A RETARD.

 

Do you think about what you're writing before you type?  Don't be so close minded please, for you make others fear for the offspring that you might plague this world with....

 

This has NOTHING to do with marijuana and has everything to do with making someone's life safer for a person who can't prioritize that for themselves anymore.

 

Please reevaluate your ignorance before posting.

fuzziebacon wrote...

Get junkies to pay for it, junkies don't get HIV, and they don't need to be treated.

 

WHAT ! ! ? Junkies don't get HIV...that is crazy; Junkies get and transmit HIV to anyone they encounter !

 

i have been using MMJ for 45 years and I have never touched a narocotic or needle and god forbit i ever do !

 

wake up and smell the safe effective medicinal mairjuana burning ! ALL DRUGS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL...

MMJ IS BY FAR SUPERIOR AND SAFE...! STOP THE NEEDLES ! NEEDLES ARE DANGEROUS ! DUH !

 

PS "NO ONE HAS EVER "DIED ON MARIJUANA ! how many die from Aids and narcotics

 

AMERICA IS :"SCREWED WITH PEOPLE LIKE LELAND LEE AND GOV JERRY BROWN THE HYPOCRITE

 

 so when jerry brown goes to seep at night he things

 

ah good knowing thousands of iv narcotics users have a free needle? WHAT A TERRIBLE THOUGHT !

STOP THE INSANITY STOP THE MADNESS STOP THE NEEDLES AND LEGALIZE MEDICINAL MAIRJUANA!

"Junkies get and transmit HIV

"Junkies get and transmit HIV to anyone they encounter." Are you serious? I'm a junky and am not at any risk of HIV/Hepatitis because I use clean needles. You need to understand that you CANNOT contract either one of those diseases if your needle is clean. Junkies who don't have access to clean needles are very very desperate and are willing to take risks to get their fix. Such a risk could be sharing a needle because laws make it extremely difficult for junkies to have access to them. The stigma that junkies spread diseases doesn't need to be a true one. Just because YOUR drug is Mary J doesn't mean you have to bash on people who use other ones. Please reconsider your uninformed opinion.

America is on the wrong path...imo Anna usa 1951

AMERICA is on the wrong path

America has been distributing "free needles to people for 40 years

and has thus arrested approximately "20 million Americans for small time MARIJUAN POSSESSION

and another 10 million for distribution of marijuana

AMERICA ? YOU ARE ON THE WRONG THE VERY WRONG PATH OF IMMORALITY & HYPOCRISY!

PS

PS instead of giving junkies free paraphernalia...they shoiuld give junkies treatment and drug rehabilitation !

ah but one needle is so much cheaper than a rehab center; CHEAPER THAN CURING THE ADDICT !

 

the usa does not have many treatment centers for addicts ! stooooooooooooooopid government...dumb !

borden's picture

Anna, dead addicts don't

Anna, dead addicts don't recover. And the research evidence supporting needle exchange is simply overwhelming.

You also misunderstand addiction, addiction treatment and addiction recovery. You don't just spend money on treatment and the patient is cured. It doesn't always work the first time -- some people are just not at that point where they can be successfully treated -- and after it does, relapse is something to be expected from time to time, not with everyone but often. And so it comes back to... dead addicts don't recover. And an addict with HIV or Hepatitis, maybe spreading it to others, is a situation to be avoided by any means possible.

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