Sacramento, Calif., City Council Should Allow Sale of Nonprescription Needles, Editorial Says
The Sacramento, Calif., City Council should base its upcoming decision about whether to allow the nonprescription sale of needles to adults "on facts, not fear," a Sacramento Bee editorial says (Sacramento Bee, 8/1). The Sacramento County, Calif., Board of Supervisors in October 2005 rejected 3-2 a proposal that would have allowed the sales. California law only allows prescription sales of syringes, except when used to inject adrenaline or insulin. However, under a state law (SB 1159) that took effect Jan. 1, 2005, cities and counties in the state can authorize pharmacies to sell up to 10 sterile syringes at a time to an adult without a prescription (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/21/05). There is "overwhelming" evidence of the successes of clean needles in reducing the prevalence of bloodborne diseases, including HIV/AIDS, as well as "saving lives and taxpayer dollars," the editorial says, adding that this is a "public health issue that really doesn't belong before political bodies." Arguments that allowing nonprescription sales of needles would fuel drug use and crime rates are "bogus," and the only "antidote to this fear-mongering" is a "real-life test case right in the heart of the community," according to the editorial. The city council therefore must have the "wisdom to say 'yes'" during an upcoming debate to allow the nonprescription sale of needles in the city, the editorial concludes (Sacramento Bee, 8/1).