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San Diego County Board of Supervisors votes to move forward with syringe service program

03/10/20

Read the full article on CBS 8 News here.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 today to move forward with developing a syringe service program, as part of the county's harm-reduction strategies for public health.

Supervisors nixed the idea of a syringe service program 23 years ago.

Syringe services programs encompass substance use treatment; access to and disposal of sterile syringes and injection equipment; and vaccination, testing and care and treatment for infectious diseases.

The nonprofit Family Health Centers of San Diego has its own limited syringe program, called SafePoint San Diego.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said while the optics are difficult, supplying addicted drug users with clean needles is an opportunity to reduce the spread of HIV, Hepatitis C and other illnesses.

"We have to do what we know works," Fletcher said, telling his colleagues that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Surgeon General Jerome Adams support syringe programs.

During Tuesday's meeting, more than 20 people -- from medical professionals to those in recovery from addiction -- urged the county to adopt a needle program.