San Diego Mayor Supports Needle Exchange Program
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders (R) plans to introduce legislation to develop a needle exchange program in the city, according to a spokesperson, the San Diego-Union Tribune reports. Sanders said he supports the concept of needle exchange programs to reduce the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
A previous exchange program shut down in July 2005. Supporters of the program are confident that it will be reinstated because there are no vacancies on the City Council, the mayor supports the program and a new law that removes the requirement for local governments to declare a health emergency every two weeks to allow needle-exchange programs took effect on Jan. 1. Under the new law, local governments can authorize a needle exchange with a single vote.
Sanders spokesperson Fred Sainz said that the mayor will meet with the Alliance Healthcare Foundation, which funds the program, to develop a proposal. According to Sainz, a proposal could be presented to the City Council in March or early April (Oakes, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/8).