Los Angeles City Council Approves Program To Permit Sale of Syringes Without a Prescription
Los Angeles City Council members on Wednesday voted 12-0 to approve an ordinance permitting pharmacies to sell syringes to city residents age 18 and over without a prescription, in an attempt to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis, the Los Angeles Times reports (Hymon, Los Angeles Times, 3/10).
In September 2004, Schwarzenegger enacted a law (SB 1159) to create a program to allow pharmacies to sell as many as 10 syringes to adults without a prescription. Because of an amendment to the bill that Schwarzenegger had requested, cities and counties must approve pharmacies that seek to participate in the program.
The law, introduced by Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-San Jose), decriminalizes possession of needles without a prescription and requires pharmacies to provide information about drug treatment, disease testing and safe syringe disposal. The law will expire in 2010 unless the Legislature approves legislation to extend the program (California Healthline, 1/6).
Under the ordinance, pharmacies can choose whether to offer syringes. Walgreens has said it will offer syringes.
Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn (D) must sign the ordinance before it can take effect (Los Angeles Times, 3/10).