By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com September 04 2002 12:00 AM ET
A bill approved by the California legislature that will allow pharmacists to sell hypodermic needles to adult customers without a doctor's prescription was forwarded Friday to Gov. Gray Davis, who has said he will sign it, the Los Angeles Times reports. Supporters of the bill say it will reduce the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases among intravenous drug users. "This measure saves lives and dollars without any cost to taxpayers," said bill author Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara). Opponents of the measure say it condones drug use. California is currently one of only six states that require a prescription to buy hypodermic needles. About half of the state's 600,000 hepatitis C cases and nearly 20% of California's 124,000 HIV cases are related to needle sharing among intravenous drug users.