Protect Public Health by Supporting a Needle Exchange in Santa Cruz
This petition is to let the Santa Cruz City and County governments know that Needle Exchanges have been shown to
1. Reduce the number of used syringes that are littered
2. Reduce drug abuse in the communities in which they operate
3. Limit the harmful effects of HIV and Hepatitis C in the entire community
For these reasons, the City Council and County Board of Supervisors should support a Needle Exchange program that:
1. Is accessible to users by being located in the urban core of Santa Cruz as well as other locations throughout the County most in need of the service.
2. Is supervised and supported by the County Health Services Agency.
3. Takes in as many needles as it gives out.
Research resoundingly supports Needle Exchanges:
1. They reduce the number of used syringes that are littered
- In Portland, Oregon, the number of improperly discarded syringes dropped by almost two-thirds after the implementation of a Needle Exchange program (Friedman, Magnuson, and Jarlais 1992).
- A 2011 study assessed syringe disposal practices in a city that has a syringe service program (San Francisco) and in a city that does not have a syringe service program (Miami) and found that in Miami, 95% of syringes were inappropriately discarded, but in San Francisco, 13% of syringes were inappropriately discarded (Tookes, 2011).
2. Needle Exchanges reduce drug abuse in the communities in which they operate:
- Research by former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher found that the presence of a syringe exchange program does not increase the use of illegal drugs among participants, and in many cases, a decrease in injection frequency has been observed among those attending Needle Exchange programs. (Satcher 2000).
- In Seattle, Needle Exchange participants were five times more likely to enter drug treatment than non-participant injection drug users (McGough , Thiede, Hopkins, & Duchin 2000).
3. Needle Exchanges reduce the harms of HIV and Hepatitis C in the entire community:
- The National Institutes of Health found that Needle Exchanges lead to a reduction in risk behaviors as high as 80 percent in injecting drug users (“Interventions to Prevent HIV Risk, Consensus Statement”, 2010).
- CBS news reports that a lifetime of HIV treatment costs about $618,900. A syringe from the Needle Exchange costs only 10 cents. A single syringe can be all that is necessary to prevent a drug user from sharing needles and spreading HIV or Hepatitis C.