California Assembly, Governor Should Approve ‘Common-Sense’ Bill To Allow OTC Sales of Syringes, Editorial Says
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) should "take the common-sense, compassionate step" of signing a bill (SB 1159) expected to pass the Legislature that would authorize pharmacies to sell as many as 10 syringes without a prescription, an Orange County Register editorial says (Orange County Register, 8/5). 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 new bill would reduce HIV and hepatitis C rates and "significantly reduce danger to police officers and other safety and health workers -- without significantly increasing the incidence of illicit drug use," the editorial says. Although several areas in the state have "experimented" with needle-exchange programs, such programs are "funded by the taxpayers and may create a sense of entitlement," the editorial says, adding that the new bill "wouldn't cost taxpayers money" because syringe users would have to pay for the needles. In addition, the bill would make it a crime to dispose of syringes at playgrounds, parks and beaches, the editorial says, adding that the bill "makes so much common sense it is hard to see how anybody could consider opposing it" (Orange County Register, 8/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.