Illinois Pharmacy Reports Few Sales of Syringes Under Law Permitting Syringe Sales Without Prescription
Few people have taken advantage of an Illinois law that allows the purchase of hypodermic needles without a prescription, according to Walgreens, one of the state's largest pharmacies, the Chicago Sun-Times reports (McKinney, Chicago Sun-Times, 10/27). Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) in July 2003 signed into law a bill (SB 880) that allows anyone age 18 or older to buy up to 20 hypodermic needles at a time from a pharmacy without a prescription. The pharmacy is required to offer the buyer educational materials on drug treatment and safe needle disposal (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/29/03). Michael Polzin, a Walgreens spokesperson, said, "I don't think there has been a real large difference for us so far in the sale of syringes," adding, "It's not like all of a sudden our sales have doubled. A lot of that is because there's still some education that needs to be done among the public that they don't need a prescription for [syringes]." David Munar, associate director of the Chicago AIDS Foundation, said that the law carries potentially "immense health benefits" but that knowledge of the law has been "slow to spread" among injection drug users, according to the Sun-Times. State Sen. Kathleen Wojcik (R), who opposes the law, said, "I don't like the concept. I think we should be out there trying to help people get on their two feet and get off drugs, not making it easier (to use drugs) by being able to get the needles" (Chicago Sun-Times, 10/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.