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Chair Fletcher Secures Board Support to Overturn Outdated County Policy on Needle Exchange Programs

01/26/21

Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, today received support from a majority of the Board, to create comprehensive substance use harm reduction and syringe services programs for San Diego County.  The Board voted 3-2 in favor of the policy 

“The old policies were buried in a past that wasn’t guided by science, research or a drive to take the most effective steps to help those suffering from addiction.  Today we took an important and strong step forward to bringing our approach into the modern era by adopting proven strategies that can help break the cycle of addiction.”     

The policy proposed by Chair Fletcher was the next step in a process he first introduced last March. Back then a committee was formed, conducted some research and earlier this month presented a report to the Board of Supervisors. He went on to praise the policy passed today, which will:     

  • Reverse County’s outdated policy on needle exchange programs
  • Create a new syringe services strategy to prevent overdoses and spread of infectious disease  
  • Create a countywide action plan to incorporate a comprehensive substance use harm reduction interventions into our Substance Use Continuum of Care

The Chief Administrative Office and her team now have 90 days to develop a strategy with immediate, intermediate and long-term actions to broaden the existing opioid and prescription drug misuse strategy and return to the Board with an update.  

This policy aligns with Chair Fletcher’s Framework for the Future of San Diego County. The Framework prioritizes communities and populations in San Diego that have been historically left behind. Through this Framework, Chair Fletcher is fighting for: racial justice, health equity, economic opportunity, environmental protection, community-centered criminal justice, and fundamental changes to county operations.