Los Angeles Times Endorses Measure to Legalize Over-the-Counter Needle Sales
A bill (SB 1785) that would let adults in California purchase and possess up to 30 sterile syringes per year without a prescription would help reduce the spread of bloodborne diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV, a Los Angeles Times editorial states. The measure, which passed the California Senate and now moves to the state Assembly, is supported by the California Medical Association and the California Nurses Association, the editorial notes. The Times states that critics of the bill say that it "would only encourage criminal drug use and the multitude of ancillary ills that accompany it." The editorial continues, "In an ideal world, simply prohibiting everyone from abusing drugs would end drug abuse," but it adds that in "reality as it now stands," drug use will continue with or without the availability of clean needles. The editorial notes that in the 44 states where syringes are legally sold over the counter, the spread of HIV, hepatitis C and other infectious diseases has "been markedly reduced." The same effect could happen in California if the bill is passed, the editorial concludes (Los Angeles Times, 5/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.