Santa Ana takes final step to ban Orange County’s only needle exchange program

A yearslong saga got here to a quiet finish Tuesday when the Santa Ana Metropolis Council unanimously banned hyperdermic needle exchanges with out remark.

For the reason that metropolis pressured the closure of Orange County’s first and solely needle trade program in early 2018, it has since held the place that used syringes threaten public well being.

“Actually, proper outdoors of Metropolis Corridor, the needle trade program was run largely by volunteers within the space between Metropolis Corridor and the library,” Santa Ana Councilman Jose Solorio mentioned by telephone. “I used to be all the time very painfully disenchanted to see used medication and needles throughout Metropolis Corridor, together with in our native libraries and parks. And it was simply one thing that was not protected for the neighborhood and kids.”

Advocates of this system say that entry to wash needles retains intravenous drug customers from sharing syringes and spreading HIV, hepatitis C and different bloodborne pathogens.

“It’s not stunning, however disappointing,” mentioned Mahan Naeim, a former member of the Orange County Needle Trade. “We’re in the course of a lethal pandemic, on high of a lethal opiate epidemic. It was tough for folk affected by opiate dependence earlier than the pandemic, now it’s tougher to entry care.”

Naeim mentioned Orange is the most important county within the nation with out a needle trade.

Such applications are endorsed by the American Medical Assn., the World Well being Group and the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

Solorio mentioned the program drew homeless individuals and drug addicts to downtown.

“Santa Ana shouldn’t be the one metropolis within the county burdened with permitting this service of their neighborhood, and higher methods and disposal value reimbursement provisions have to be developed to maintain soiled needles away from libraries, parks and faculties,” Solorio mentioned.

Naeim agreed that different cities aren’t shouldering their share of the duty.

“We’re pushing individuals additional away from the care they want and deserve, however this appears to be a acutely aware effort from various cities in Orange County,” Naeim mentioned. “So we’re not shocked.”

The saga of the OC Needle Trade began in early 2018, when it was pressured to shut down after Santa Ana metropolis officers denied its allow utility.

The OC Needle Trade got here again with a proposal for a cellular program in Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, Anaheim and Orange.

In response, the Board of Supervisors authorized a decision opposing the idea, however the state nonetheless authorized this system in July 2018.

The county, Costa Mesa, Anaheim, Orange and Newport Seashore sued to dam the trade. And in October 2019, a choose sided with the county and cities.

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