Assembly Approves Bill To Ease Rules on Needle Exchange Programs
The Assembly on Monday voted 43-27 to approve a bill (AB 2871) that would ease restrictions placed on municipal needle exchange programs, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. The bill, sponsored by Assembly member Patti Berg (D-Santa Rosa), would eliminate a provision in state law that requires counties or cities to declare an emergency before starting a needle exchange program and then review the program every 14 days. If signed into law, the bill would allow the 14 municipalities that currently run needle exchange programs to decide how to monitor their programs. "This is a public health crisis that we can positively influence," Berg said. Assembly member Keith Richman (R-Granada Hills) said that needle exchange programs have proven "very effective in reducing HIV/AIDS transmission [and] different types of hepatitis" and do not increase illicit drug use. The bill "will make it administratively easier for counties and cities to run these needle exchange programs," Richman said, adding, "It has a public health benefit for our state." However, Assembly member Ray Haynes (R-Temecula), who voted against the measure, said that it would encourage illicit drug users "to remain addicted," the AP/Times reports. He added, "We shouldn't be in the business of giving away syringes and drug paraphernalia." The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration (AP/Contra Costa Times, 5/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.