(FOX40.COM) — The Placer County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance on Tuesday that temporary prohibits any needle exchange or distribution programs in the county.
The programs are banned for 45 days, or until Oct. 27, in the unincorporated areas of Placer County.
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The ordinance and vote comes after a proposal for a syringe services program was submitted in July by Safer Alternatives through Networking and Education (SANE) to the California Department of Public Health.
The program would offer home delivery and pickup of needles the same or next business day. Under the proposal, SANE estimated it would distribute 200,000 syringes annually to southwest Placer County cities such as Lincoln, Auburn, Loomis, Rocklin and Roseville.
The state health department said SANE’s application “met the baseline requirements” and is circulated for public comment, which will close on Sept. 21. State health officials is expected to make a decison on the application any time after the public comment period closes.
Cities within the county and county departments have opposed the application, filing opposition letters to the state health department, during the public comment period.
“Their estimate to collect 200,000 syringes is not supported by an empirical evidence of past practices,” a letter from Placer County Sheriff Wayne Woo and Probation Chief Marshall Hopper reads. “In fact, while they keep a strict amount of how many syringes they hand out, they only collect data on ‘pounds’ of used syringes/waste collected.”
“This is clearly an opaque figure that lacks the transparency necessary for public officials to make informed decisions on programs that directly impact the citizens of this county,” the letter continues.”
The temporary ban also allows more time for Placer County to monitor jurisdictions in California that allow and regulate syringe services programs for regulatory best practices, according to the staff report.
Officials are anticipating on bringing back a permanent ordinance at a future board meeting, the staff report said.
The staff report said syringe exchange services for medical purposes at pharmacies and hospitals is not banned under the ordinance.
Cities in Placer County have discussed similar ordiances in its city council meetings this week.
The Lincoln City Council discussed a proposed mobile syringe service program by SANE at its meeting Tuesday. The Rocklin City Council voted to prohibit syringe exchange programs in the city.