Council Considers Needle Exchanges

Share |
(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, January 22, 2007

Just 4 months after approving an ordinance allowing pharmacists to sell clean needles to drug users without a prescription, the council is now looking at a measure allowing various service providers to legally exchange needles.

City Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy, who introduced the plan, says the goal is to get dirty needles off the streets. 

"So that the dangerous needles that keep getting used over and over and over and passing on different types of illnesses can be taken in and destroyed."

Some law enforcement groups have historically opposed needle exchanges. The California Narcotic Officers' Association argues that they lead to more contaminated needles left in public places. But the Sacramento Police Department is staying neutral. Sergeant Matt Young is a department spokesman.

"The Police Department’s position is that whatever ordinance legislation that the city decides to implement, the Police Department will abide by and enforce."

The proposed ordinance requires Sacramento County’s Health Officer Dr. Glennah Trochet to administer the program. She says the best way to stop the spread of infectious diseases is for drug users to stop using, but that’s not so easy to accomplish.

"So the next best thing is to give them access to clean syringes so that they will not spread the diseases to others as well as to their close relations."

The Sacramento City Council will vote on the ordinance at Tuesday's meeting.