California Should Pass Legislation Permitting Sale of Needles Without Prescription, Editorial Says
The "staggering" human and economic cost of HIV/AIDS among injection drug users caused by needle sharing can be prevented "without increased crime or drug use" if state pharmacists are allowed to sell clean needles without prescriptions "as they do in 45 other states," a San Francisco Chronicle editorial says. According to the editorial, a poll of likely voters found that 59% of state residents support a bill (SB 1159), sponsored by state Sen. John Vasconcellos (D), that would allow the sale of up to 10 needles without a prescription to individuals age 18 or older (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/28). California law currently requires a prescription to purchase syringes, except when used to inject adrenaline or insulin (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/13). The bill's provisions would expire in 2008, following analysis by health and police officials, according to the Chronicle. Resident taxpayers spend millions of dollars to treat HIV-positive people, and SB 1159 is a "sensible policy that's working elsewhere and deserves to be tried" in the state, the editorial concludes (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.