California Bill to Allow OTC Sale of Syringes is ‘Common Sense,’ Editorial Says
If state legislators reject a California bill that would permit over-the-counter sale of sterile syringes, it would indicate that they "are soft in the head but hard in the heart when it comes to protecting Californians" from HIV/AIDS, a San Jose Mercury News editorial says. The bill (S 1785), sponsored by Sen. John Vasconcellos (D) and known as the Pharmacy Syringe Sale and Disease Prevention Act, has been endorsed by the California Medical Association, the California Pharmacists Association and the California Nurses Association. The legislation has already passed the state Senate and is set to be heard tomorrow in the Assembly Health Committee. The editorial says that "hard-on-crime" lawmakers could reject the bill as being too "soft on drugs," although the U.S. Public Health Service five years ago recommended that drug users be allowed to purchase syringes without a prescription from pharmacies and data from the 44 states that currently allow syringe sales show that such laws "reduce the spread of disease" and do not increase illegal drug use. The Mercury News concludes, "Common-sense legislation such as this should fly through the Legislature to the governor's desk for a quick signature" (San Jose Mercury News, 6/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.