Needle-Exchange Program Reauthorized
The San Diego City Council on Tuesday voted 6-1 to reinstate a needle-exchange program that operated in the city from July 2002 to July 2005, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The program aims to reduce the spread of HIV, hepatitis and other bloodborne diseases.
The program was discontinued when two city council members who supported the program resigned, leaving the council with insufficient votes to authorize the program every two weeks as was required under previous state law. A new state law permits cities and counties to authorize needle-exchange programs without having to declare a public health emergency every two weeks.
Alliance Healthcare, a local not-for-profit organization, has committed $386,400 to fund supplies and staffing for the program for two years.
San Diego is the only city in San Diego County to authorize a needle-exchange program, and county supervisors repeatedly have voted against authorizing such a program. Statewide eight cities and 14 counties have authorized needle-exchange programs (Oakes, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/12).