Election Section

Senate OKs sales of hypodermic needles without prescriptions

The Associated Press
Friday May 24, 2002

SACRAMENTO – Pharmacies could sell hypodermic needles to adults without a doctor’s prescription under a bill approved Thursday by the state Senate. 

Sen. John Vasconcellos, D-San Jose, said his legislation would cut down on the number of cases of HIV and other diseases caused by the sharing of needles among drug addicts. 

“I ask for an aye vote for life,” he said. 

But Sen. Bill Morrow, R-Oceanside, said addicts would continue to share needles because “that’s part of the drug culture.” 

“This bill allows addicts who share needles to have more needles to share and there will only be a proliferation of disease,” he said. 

The bill would allow pharmacies to sell up to 30 hypodermic needles or syringes without a prescription to a person who is over 18. 

Current law allows public agencies to distribute clean needles as part of a needle exchange program. 

A 21-12 vote sent the bill to the Assembly.