San Diego Council Member Who Supports Needle Exchange Will Vote Against the Program If It Does Not Produce Positive Results
San Diego City Council member Toni Atkins, who last year voted in favor of starting a needle-exchange program in the city, said on Wednesday that she will oppose the program if it does not produce positive results, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Last year the council voted 5-4 in favor of a needle-exchange program to help lower transmission rates of hepatitis C and HIV among intravenous drug users. But at a public forum on Wednesday, Atkins said that she does not "know if we'll see positive results." Neighborhood residents fear that the program, which could start as early as July in the City Heights and North Park neighborhoods, might encourage drug use and bring more drug users into their neighborhoods. The program, which is funded by a grant from the Alliance Healthcare Foundation and will be operated by Family Health Centers of San Diego, will use a mobile clinic as an exchange base and will visit each neighborhood for a few hours each week. The program will provide counseling services and will exchange no more than two needles per person each visit (Graham, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.