Los Angeles County Approves Over-The-Counter Syringe Sales
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 3-2 to legalize sales of syringes without a prescription, in an effort to reduce the incidence of diseases spread through injection drug use, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The policy -- which is supported by pharmacists, health officials and HIV/AIDS advocates -- allows pharmacies that register with the county Department of Health Services to sell customers as many as 10 syringes without a prescription. Registered pharmacies also will be required to provide customers with information on drug treatment and testing for HIV and hepatitis.
A state law creating a program that began in January allows counties and cities to authorize over-the-counter sales of syringes.
The policy will not apply to Pasadena and Long Beach, which have separate health departments.
County officials said they hope pharmacies will be selling syringes by October (Leonard/Felch, Los Angeles Times, 6/15).
KPCC's "AirTalk" on Wednesday included a discussion of the county's approval of needle sales. Guests on the program included Jonathan Fielding, director of public health for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services; John Lovell, lobbyist for the California Narcotic Officers' Association; Craig Thompson, executive director of AIDS Project Los Angeles; and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky (Chen, "AirTalk," KPCC, 6/15). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.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.