Needle Exchange Program Rejected
Fresno County supervisors on Tuesday voted 4-1 to reject a proposal to create a legal needle exchange program one week after the county public health officer declared a public health crisis among injection drug users, the Fresno Bee reports.
Supervisors directed Edward Moreno, the county health officer, to discuss a possible joint effort with the city of Fresno. Supervisor Bob Waterson said he would support such a program if the city shares some of the costs.
The program would have legalized an existing underground needle exchange. Organizers of that program estimate they exchange about 5,000 needles during a one-hour period each week.
Supervisor Henry Perea said that although the underground exchange distributes literature on drug treatment options, a program is needed in which county workers can ensure more people enter treatment programs (Ginis, Fresno Bee, 5/24).