Contra Costa Supervisors Approve Needle-Exchange

Contra Costa Supervisors Approve Needle-Exchange
Posted by FoM on December 15, 1999 at 09:41:48 PT
Chronicle Staff Report
Source: San Francisco Chronicle 
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously yesterday to approve a plan for providing free needles to drug addicts. The decision to declare a countywide health emergency for AIDS and hepatitis C allows the county to provide support for an existing needle-exchange program called Exchange Works. 
The nonprofit Exchange Works has been operating illegally since 1995, handing out clean needles in Richmond and North Richmond. The board's vote decriminalizes the group's activities and allows the county to put its own resources behind the effort. The program exchanges about 5,000 needles per week at two sites at an average cost of $26,000 a year. It is funded through a variety of small grants. Public health officials said their staff would begin working with Exchange Works volunteers during the next two weeks. The supervisors directed members of the county staff to report back in six months on how successful the program has been in helping get addicts off drugs and into treatment programs. While several people spoke in support of the board's decision, others voiced strong opposition to the plan. ``Needle-exchange programs wreck communities,'' said Mike Arata of Danville. Chronicle Staff ReportWednesday, December 15, 1999 1999 San Francisco Chronicle  Page A22 Newshawk: Frank S. WorldDrug Policy Forum Of Wisconsin Article:Global Push for Safe Needles - 12/14/99
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