PHIL: THE COUNTY TOOK OVER THE NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAM FOUR YEARS AGO FROM A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION, BECAUSE OF PUBLIC OUTCRY ABOUT THE NUMBER OF USED SYRINGES FOUND ON BEACHES AND IN PARKS. THE PROBLEM IS TRYING TO FIND A WAY TO MANAGE IT AND STILL PROVIDE HEALTH SERVICES THOSE — SERVICES FOR THOSE ADDICTED.>>THE PUBLIC RELATIONS PERSON CALLED ME AND ASKED, WHAT DO I DO ABOUT ALL THE NEEDLES BEING STUCK IN OUR TELEPHONE POLE OVER BY EMELINE? PHIL: DICARDED NEEDLES CONTINUE TO BE FOUND, MOST OFTEN BY VERY YOUNG CHILDREN. OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS, ALMOS 600,000 NEW SYRINGES HAVE BEEN ISSUED HERE IN SANTA CRUZ COUNTY. AND OVER 800,000 HAVE BEEN COLLECTED FROM ONSITE EXCHANGES AND THE THREE DISPOSAL KIOSKS. DR. ARNOLD LEFF: IF ANYTHING, WE’RE COLLECTING A LOT MORE SYRINGES THAN WE’RE GIVING OUT. SO IN GENERAL, IF ANYTHING WE’RE TRYING OUR BEST TO DECREASE THAT ANGST AND DECREASE THE NUMBE OF — AND THE NUMBER OF SYRINGES AND NEEDLES THAT ARE OUT IN THE COMMUNITY ON THE STREETS AND BEACHES. PHIL: THE COUNTY HOPES TO IMPROVE THE PROGRAM WITH 7 RECOMMENDATIONS, THOSE INCLUDE THE ONE FOR ONE NEEDLE EXCHANGE POLICY AT THE EMELINE CLINIC AND WATSONVILLE HEALTH CENTER, ADDING MORE KIOSKS FOR SAFE DISPOSAL, AND BEGIN A PILOT PROGRAM THAT WOULD LINK FIRST TIME USERS TO MEDICAL EVALUATIONS WITH CLINICIAN DR. ARNOLD LEFF: THE REAL CHANGE, AT THIS POINT, IS THAT WE ARE GOING TO GO ONE TO ONE IN THE SYRINGE EXCHANGE PROGRAM ITSELF, BUT THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE SYRINGES WE ARE GOING TO REFER TO A CLINICIAN TO TALK WITH THEM AND GIVE THEM SYRINGES AS NEEDED. PHIL: WHILE SOME SUPPORT THE ADDITION OF MORE KIOSK-DISPOSAL CONTAINERS, OTHERS WANT TO MAKE SURE USERS ARE DISPOSING OF THEM PROPERLY. DENISE ELERICK: PUT ONE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD. PUT ONE IN MID COUNTY. I WILL DECORATE IT WITH RIBBONS AND FLOWERS. DAMON BRUDER: WE NEED ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE NEEDLES THAT ARE GIVEN OUT. WE NEED THE ONE FOR ONE, NOT LET’S COUNT HOW MANY WE HAND OUT AND AWAY HOW MANY MIGHT BE COMING — AND WEIH HOW MANY MIGHT BE COMING IN. PHIL: CONCERNS REMAIN. SANTA CRUZ COUNTY DISTRIBUTES MORE NEEDLES THAN SANTA CLARA COUNTY, DESPITE HAVING A SIGNIFICANTLY SMALLER POPULATION. >>THEY HAVE A POPULATION OF 1.7 MILLION AND WE’RE AT 262,000. AS A COUNTY DISTRIBUTING AROUND 176,000 NEEDLES, WHEN WE DISTRIBUTE 339,000. AND THAT’S JUST STAGGERING TO ME WHEN YOU CONSIDER THE DIFFERENCE IN POPULATION. PHIL: THE SANTA CRUZ BOARD OF SUPERVISORS UNANINMOUSLY APPROVED THE RECOMMENDED CHANGES. THE COUNTY DID NOT ADD ANY ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR THE PROGRAM. ERIN: THANK YOU. ALSO IN TODAY’S MEETING, THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS ADDRESSED THE HIGH NUMBER OF PRESCRIPTION OVERDOSE DEATHS IN THE COUNTY. SANTA CRUZ COUNTY HAS RANKED

3 thoughts on “Santa Cruz drug needles: Progress report released”

  1. I thought drugs are illegal but we’re giving out needles so people can shoot up and not get hepatitis or aids. I’m sorry but we can’t afford to care about people who don’t care about themselves. Maybe the treat of getting hepatitis or aids may get some addicts to stop using. All these needle give aways say is-ITS OK TO DO SELL AND BE HIGH ON DRUGS IN SANTA CRUZ. SANTA CRUZ FREE TO ADDICTS AND CRIMINALS EXPENSIVE FOR EVERYONE ELSE

  2. Funny how plastic straws are the legal but it’s OK to give up plastic syringes. Lol
    Democratic cities and states are so fucked up

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