Monday, March 22, 2010
Several harm reduction-related bills have been introduced into the California Legislature this year. Three would expand access to sterile syringes in the state; two would remove barriers to providing assistance in the case of drug overdose. Full texts of these bills are available here.
AB 1701 (Chesbro) would lift the December 31, 2010 sunset on the Disease Prevention Demonstration Project (DPDP), the pilot program established in 2005 which allows nonprescription sale of syringes (NPSS) in pharmacies which opt in to the program. The current program requires county and/or city authorization in order for pharmacies to participate.
SB 1029 (Yee) would conclude the five year pilot, and make NPSS standard pharmacy practice statewide. The bill would eliminate the need for local government and pharmacies to opt into a program, and for county health departments to manage a program. It would also raise the number of syringes that an individual may purchase and possess to 30.
AB 1858 (Blumenfield) would allow the California Department of Public Health to authorize syringe exchange programs in locations where the conditions exist for the rapid spread of viral hepatitis, HIV or other potentially deadly or disabling diseases.
AB 2145 (Ammiano) would provide legal protections to providers who prescribe Naloxone, an opiate overdose antidote, and offer similar protection to individuals who administer Naloxone in an emergency.
AB 2460 (Ammiano) would encourage bystanders to call 911 when witnessing an overdose event by offering limited protection from arrest for simple possession or paraphernalia charges for people who are present when 911 responders arrive.
For more information on the provisions of the bills and their statuses as they make their way through the Senate and Assembly check the websites of the Harm Reduction Coalition, the Drug Policy Alliance and CalHEP, the California Hepatitis Alliance.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Community Alliance: "Modesto Harm Reduction Activists Still Facing Jail"
*And to clarify, this blogspot address noted in the reference section of the article is not the working of Brian Robinson. Off the Streets Project and this blog are maintained by a group of community outreach volunteers who actively support syringe exchange for our community.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
DATE: February 1, 2010
WHERE: Stanislaus County Courthouse
Corner of 11th and I Street
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT! Come join those in our community concerned with the public health, safety, & wellness of Stanislaus County. We will rally in support of HEP C and HIV/AIDS education &prevention through SYRINGE EXCHANGE AUTHORIZATION on FEBRUARY 1st starting at NOON (speakers @ 12:45). Volunteers arrested at a Syringe Exchange Program at Mono Park in April 2009 will attend a hearing inside at 1:30 to find out if they will be allowed to use a defense of medical necessityn when they go to trial March 23. This is a crucial phase in the misdemeanor case against the public health workers.
Meet in front of the Stanislaus County Courthouse on the corner of 11th & I in Downtown Modesto for an afternoon of solidarity against an emerging public health crisis. Come out and support common sense change for a better Stanislaus County!
- 60-90% of injection drug users have Hepatitis C.
- Hepatitis is called the "Giant in the Closet" by Stanislaus County Health Services Agency in 2008 - it is the #2 infectious disease in the county.
- The Central Valley is home to the highest rates of injection drug use in the nation.
- Injection drug related HIV/AIDS cases in Stanislaus County are among the highest in California.
This is for real.
Monday, January 4, 2010
(from Off the Streets Facebook Discussion Board, November 2009)
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Copied below is the letter he submitted to the Stanislaus District Attorney's Office in support of Brian Robinson and Kristy Tribuzio. Read it below - pretty much says it all. And for those who may argue that he is from Australia and it doesn't apply here, our answer is that substance use, public health and safety, and harm reduction principles know no boundaries. While environments and certain nuances may be unique, widespread patterns and implications remain rather consistent whether we are talking about Europe, Mexico or Atlanta, Georgia. Read on:
Law Enforcement and Harm Reduction Advisor
Nossal Institute for Global Health
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Greg Denham and I am a former state police officer having served in an operational capacity for 17 years in state police forces in Australia. Over the past ten years or so I have been working both locally and internationally in promoting police/health partnerships with a particular focus on the prevention of the spread of HIV and other blood borne viruses.
As you would be aware, there has been a growing health emergency for nearly 30 years that has required urgent action to halt the spread of AIDS. None more evident is the USA where there are approximately 50,000 new HIV cases each year, thousands of new Hepatitis C cases also, many attributed to sharing contaminated injecting equipment.
Police are now recognised as an integral part of the approach to prevent the transmission of these potentially deadly diseases, the police role cannot be emphasised enough.
The most effective police approach has been found to give to support to programs that seek to reduce the risk of the spread of HIV - to both the individual and the community (including police). These programs, often termed 'harm reduction', include needle and syringe programs, methadone treatment, and condom distribution. Numerous police agencies throughout the world (including in the USA) have initiated both formal and informal policies and practices that support these harm reduction approaches. They are well documented in the literature and have been successfully evaluated.
In policing terms, it is essential that police become aware of their important role in this issue. Harm reduction cannot, and will not, work without the active participation of police. Further, police must be supported at the government level in the adoption of these supportive policies and practices and advocacy must be conducted with the communities where these programs operate.
Police and government must understand that harm reduction programs do not facilitate drug use, increase the number of people using drugs, entice drug users into a community, nor increase crime. Research in fact shows the opposite; needle and syringe programs are an effective bridge to treatment and improve the amenity of the local area through cleaning up of discarded syringes and other paraphernalia.
To aid the development of more effective approaches by police and explain their role in policing terms, I have initiated the Coalition of Police Supporting Harm Reduction (COPS HR). This network provides training, guidance and advice to police officers throughout the world in their role in this important health issue.
I would be more than happy to elaborate on these points and am available to discuss these issues further at any time.
Law Enforcement and Harm Reduction Advisor
Nossal Institute for Global Health
October 15th 2009
- The Episcopal Church (1994) Resolution A003
- Presbyterian Church - USA General Assembly's 1993 resolution & the 212th Assembly Overture 00-79 in 2000
- United Church of Christ The UCC's HIV/AIDS Ministries urge people to advocate for needle exchange programs in your community.
- Unitarian Universalist Association (2002) Statement of Conscience
- The Society of Christian Ethics (2000) The SCE Needle Exchange Program Resolution (this link will lead you to an excerpt on IDPI website)
- Union for Reform Judaism (1997) Commission on Social Action resolution
- Central Conference of American Rabbis (2001) Resolution on Syringe Exchange Programs
The Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative (IDPI), "... is formed is to organize people of faith to promote drug policy reform; i.e., moving from prohibition laws toward reasonable and compassionate drug regulation, education and treatment." For a handout of this information from IDPI click here.
- Three former Latin American Presidents call the Drug War a failure (February)
- Michael Phelps and the bong hit heard around the world (February)
- Obama Justice Department says no more raids on patients and caregivers in states with medical marijuana laws (March)
- Drop the Rock! NY's Draconian Rockefeller drug laws finally reformed (April)
- Governor Arnold calls for debate on legalizing marijuana: Voters to decide in 2010 (May)
- US Drug Czar calls for end to the Drug War (May)
- Mexico and Argentina move to decriminalize marijuana and other drugs (August)
- The Results Are In: Portugal's Decriminalization Law of 2001 reduced transmission of disease, cut overdose deaths and incarceration, while not increasing drug use. (August)
- Coming Out of the Closet: "Stiletto Stoners" explain why they like marijuana (September)
- The marijuana legalization debate hits the mainstream (Fall )
Read the complete story here on AlterNet.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
It was so wonderful seeing these young people interact with others in this way without any hesitation! They really jumped right in and in turn walked away from this experience, I believe, seeing through new eyes. Pretty cool. And although some of our young people were not able to attend the event, their hard work collecting and preparing the blankets beforehand is just as important! This was truly a team effort! By the end of the distribution, many people were provided with much needed support resources. You just don't know how important the simple things are until you don't have them.
After music and refreshments, the candlelight vigil quietly memorialized those who died on the streets this year. The names of those known to have passed scrolled projecting on the shelter's wall, while a last minute volunteer played her flute softly and two students read the names aloud. The event closed with a stirring rendition of "Temporary Home" performed by Samantha Meroney. Just beautiful.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
- For the complete story posted on the Human Rights Watch website click here.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
- Sunday November 29, 1pm-5pm
- @ Mellis Park in Modesto
- BBQ, Free Music, Open Mic
- Know Your Rights Info & Training
- Used Needle and Trash Clean-Up
Please come out and join us! It promises to be a great afternoon.
Props to Tom and Bianca of MBB for organizing this event...
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
- cities with needle exchange saw their H.I.V. rates among injecting drug users drop 19 percent a year.
- cities without needle exchange had an 8 percent increase per year.
Contrary to popular fears, needle exchange has not led to more drug use or higher crime rates. Studies have also found that drug addicts participating in needle exchanges are more likely to enter rehabilitation programs. Using needle exchange as part of a comprehensive attack on H.I.V. is endorsed by virtually every relevant United Nations and United States-government agency.
Drug injectors don’t pass infection only among themselves. Through their sex partners, H.I.V. is spread into the general population. In many countries, the H.I.V. epidemic began among drug injectors. In Russia in 2000, for example, needle-sharing was directly responsible for more than 95 percent of all cases of H.I.V. infection. So virtually all those with H.I.V. in Russia can trace their infection to a shared needle not many generations back. Though it has been scorned as special treatment for a despised population, AIDS prevention for drug users is in fact crucial to preventing a wider epidemic.
Read the complete story in The New York Times Magazine here.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
- Read this October 2009 fact sheet from the Foundation for AIDS Research. Something notable that was omitted from this fact sheet is that many SEPs also offer personal size sharps containers for users to store their used syringes. If syringes are properly contained, not only does California law then protect someone carrying them, law enforcement is further protected from needle stick injuries.
- Click here to be connected to the video "The Risks of the Job: Protecting Law Enforcement from Needle Stick Injury," produced by Gretchen Hildebrand. THIS IS AN EXCELLENT VIDEO! PLEASE WATCH!
- Off the Streets' DVD copy of "Risks of the Job" is available for lending to the community or it can be viewed with Off the Streets volunteers, accompanied with other supplemental resources, and/or can be part of a larger training series. For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this short video, "The Risks of the Job" shows:
- How law enforcement officers can avoid needle sticks in the field
- How officers can protect themselves when needle sticks occur
- How Syringe Exchange Programs are helping communities and law enforcement officers stay safer