Sacramento County, Calif., Board of Supervisors Rejects Proposal To Allow Pharmacies To Sell Nonprescription Needles
The Sacramento County, Calif., Board of Supervisors on Tuesday rejected 3-2 a proposal that would have allowed pharmacies to sell needles to adults without a prescription, the Sacramento Bee reports (Reese, Sacramento Bee, 10/19). California law only allows prescription sales of syringes, except when used to inject adrenaline or insulin. However, under a state law (SB 1159) that went into effect Jan. 1, cities and counties in California can authorize pharmacies to sell up to 10 sterile syringes at a time to an adult without a prescription. If a local government passes an ordinance to allow nonprescription needle sales, the state Department of Health Services must evaluate syringe sales in the jurisdiction and report back to the state Legislature, and pharmacies selling syringes without prescriptions must register with their county health department. Pharmacies also must provide educational and referral information and written and verbal counseling to people purchasing syringes without a prescription (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/31). Public health officials said the proposal would have helped to reduce the incidence of bloodborne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C, but law enforcement officials expressed concerns that the measure would have encouraged illegal drug use and increased the number of needles improperly discarded. Twelve California counties have approved nonprescription needle sales, according to the Bee (Sacramento Bee, 10/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.