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California county
approves needle-exchange program

California county
approves needle-exchange program

San Luis Obispo County supervisors approve a needle exchange and syringe sales.

The San Luis Obispo County, Calif., board of supervisors has unanimously approved a plan to launch a needle-exchange program in the county to help stop the spread of HIV and other blood-borne diseases through needle sharing, reports the San Luis Obispo Tribune. The supervisors also voted to take advantage of a state law that allows local pharmacies to sell up to 10 hypodermic needles without a prescription.

Health advocates testified before the county supervisors that while critics claim needle-exchange programs encourage illegal drug use, studies show they actually do not boost drug-use rates. Greg Thomas, the county's health director, testified that needle exchanges also provide opportunities to get injection-drug users into treatment programs and to link them with other needed health care services.

The board of supervisors is expected to announce a more detailed plan for the needle-exchange program in the coming weeks. (

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