Sacramento Considers Needle Exchange Program
The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday voted 7-2 to draft an ordinance that would allow city residents to purchase hypodermic needles without a prescription, the Sacramento Bee reports. The council also approved a motion by council member Sandy Sheedy to conduct a study on the feasibility of the city funding a needle exchange program.
Advocates of nonprescription needle sales say the programs reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and other diseases among intravenous drug users. Opponents of the programs say that establishing the needle-exchange program would result in more used needles being discarded on streets where they could be picked up by children.
Under state law, pharmacies can sell up to 10 needles to an adult at one time without a prescription if local governments first approve the programs.
There are an estimated 15,000 daily intravenous drug users in Sacramento County, according to the county health department. Intravenous drug users have a 90% chance of being infected with hepatitis C within one year because of used and shared needles (Montaño, Sacramento Bee, 8/9).