California Legislature Approves Bill to Allow Purchase of Syringes Without a Prescription
The California Senate on Friday gave final approval to a bill (SB 1785) that would allow adults to purchase as many as 30 hypodermic needles at licensed pharmacies without a prescription, the Los Angeles Times reports. The bill now goes to Gov. Gray Davis (D) for consideration (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 8/31). State law currently requires a prescription for the purchase of syringes, with the exception of devices used to inject adrenaline or insulin. The bill, which was approved by the state Assembly on Aug. 26, would require pharmacies to store syringes so that they are available only to authorized personnel and not openly available to customers. Forty-four states have similar laws (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/28). Proponents of the measure say it will help reduce transmission of HIV, hepatitis C and other bloodborne diseases, while opponents of the bill say it encourages illegal drug use (Talev/Maxwell, Sacramento Bee, 8/31).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.