County, Calif., rejects needle-sale measure

The Sacrament
County, Calif., board of supervisors this week voted
3–2 to reject a measure that would have allowed
pharmacies in the county to sell hypodermic needles
without a prescription to help reduce needle sharing
and cut HIV and hepatitis infection rates among
injection-drug users, the Sacramento Bee
reports. Health experts, including emergency room
doctors and university professors, told the
supervisors that over-the-counter needle sales would
slash infectious disease rates among drug users and
ultimately save the county millions of dollars that
will be spent on medical care for users who contract
HIV, hepatitis, and other blood-borne diseases. But law
enforcement officials opposed the measure, saying it
encouraged drug use and could have resulted in more
police officers accidentally getting stuck by
improperly discarded needles.

A dozen
California counties have approved over-the-counter needle
sales through a new statewide law that went into
effect earlier this year. (

Tags: Health, Health

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