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Santa Ana City Council announces ‘strenuous opposition’ to proposed needle distribution program

Posted on April 17, 2024

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SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Santa Ana City Council on Tuesday, April 16, unanimously approved a resolution announcing its “strenuous opposition” to a proposed needle distribution program that would threaten public health and safety.

“This resolution reaffirms the City Council’s commitment to protecting the health, safety and welfare of our residents,” Mayor Valerie Amezcua said. “We remain steadfast in our opposition to the establishment of a needle program and all of the negative impacts it would have on the Santa Ana community.”

In December 2023, Harm Reduction Institute (HRI) filed an application with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to operate a needle distribution program in Santa Ana. In its application, HRI states it plans to distribute approximately 300,000 needles annually, but will only collect 60%, or 180,000, leaving 120,000 needles unaccounted for in public areas in Santa Ana.

This is not the first time the Santa Ana community has felt the negative impacts of a needle distribution program. From 2016 to 2018, a needle distribution program that operated in the city resulted in thousands of used, discarded and uncollected needles in the community, including in the Civic Center, neighborhoods, the library and the senior center.

The City of Santa Ana wants to ensure this does not happen again. In order for HRI’s application to move forward, CDPH must first engage in the mandatory consultation process with the local health officer and local law enforcement leadership.

The City Council’s resolution directs the City Manager to work with key stakeholders to oppose HRI’s application and provide data and information that demonstrate the negative, detrimental and significant financial impact the proposed needle distribution program would have on the City, its resources, and the public’s health, safety and welfare.

Members of the public who wish to express concerns about HRI’s proposed needle distribution program to their state representatives or who wish to gather signatures for a petition opposing the program can find sample templates and other related information on the City’s needle distribution webpage.

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Paul Eakins

Public Affairs Information Officer

(714) 647-5224

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