The Placer County Sheriff is sounding the alarm about a proposed new needle exchange program.
Besides Sheriff Wayne Woo's opposition, the Placer County Board of Supervisors is also crafting an emergency ordinance to ban needle exchanges, even before the state decides to allow any to open up in the county.
The possibility is leading to debate and divide over a proposed new needle exchange program.
"That is something we don't want here," Bob Griges said.
"I'm all for preventing the spread of disease, that's the primary thing," David March said.
"I think you have to assess what the community wants. For this area, I think we want to keep our community clean," David Standish said.
The non-profit needle exchange program "Safe Alternatives through Networking and Education" (SANE) operates a location on Sacramento's Del Paso Boulevard.
Now, it has applied with the State Department of Public Health to open a needle delivery and pick-up service in Placer County with plans to deliver 200,000 needles a year.
Amy Vergie is a drug counselor in Placer County and says an open dialogue over safety and health concerns will help guide what's best for the community.
"I do think that there can be a middle ground spoke to this. It doesn't have to be one extreme to the other," Vergie said. "We need to be educated, 'What does this plan look like of harm reduction?' I don't know that the public is fully aware what providing needles to drug users would look like."
"I also want to know what are some other options besides providing needles for harm reduction. What are are other options for jeeping everybody safe?" she added.
The Placer County Sheriff is asking residents to voice their opposition to the program, calling needle exchanges an acceptance of illicit drugs. While, the state of California credits syringe service programs for reducing the spread of HIV.
The state already licenses 65 of these needle exchange programs in 30 counties. This would be the first in Placer County.
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