Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
San Diego Needle Exchange Program Examined
KPBS profiled San Diego's "only clean syringe exchange program," a mobile van that twice weekly provides injection drug users with clean needles in exchange for used ones. The program also offers HIV and Hepatitis C tests and gives referrals to drug treatment programs. According to KPBS, "The concept behind syringe exchange is simple: people are going to shoot drugs. It's crucial to make sure they have access to clean equipment, so they don't spread blood-borne infections." However, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors is "adamantly opposed to the concept," and it is "illegal in San Diego for people to buy clean needles without a prescription," KPBS reports. In 2008, the privately-funded exchange program, which has the support of the mayor and the city council, collected more than 183,000 used syringes and handed out about 172,000 new ones (Goldberg, 7/7). This series of articles was supported by a Kaiser Family Foundation mini reporting fellowship.
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