Holyoke, Mass., Mayor Endorses State Bill Decriminalizing Sale of Hypodermic Needles Without Doctor’s Prescription
Holyoke, Mass., Mayor Michael Sullivan on Monday said that he supports a bill (H 1087) pending in the state Legislature that would decriminalize the sale of hypodermic needles without a doctor's prescription, the Springfield Republican reports. Sullivan said that selling needles without a prescription would be a more effective method of stopping the spread of HIV than existing needle-exchange programs. "Admittedly, only 25% of the people who could use needle-exchange programs use them," Sullivan said, adding, "They don't feel like going into a program, getting a card, listening to a talk. If the person just wants a clean needle and won't listen to that, let's give them a clean needle." Holyoke has 259 recorded AIDS cases, many of which are among injection drug users, Sullivan said. He said that the relatively large number of HIV/AIDS cases in Holyoke can be attributed to "concentrations of poverty" and the city's many social programs, according to the Republican. "People who become IV-drug-addicted tend to gravitate to cities with more service and more affordable lifestyles," Sullivan said. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D) has also endorsed the legislation legalizing needle sales without a prescription (Appleton, Springfield Republican, 12/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.