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State rescinds authorization for syringe exchange in Santa Ana

Posted on August 30, 2023

A pile of orange and white syringes.

The City of Santa Ana is pleased to announce that the California Department of Public Health has rescinded its authorization for the Harm Reduction Institute to provide syringe delivery services in Santa Ana and has placed the application back into “pending” status.

The CDPH informed the City of its decision today, Aug. 30, in response to the City’s strenuous opposition to the proposed syringe exchange program, which would have allowed needles to be delivered almost anywhere in Santa Ana. City Manager Kristine Ridge and Police Chief David Valentin sent a letter of opposition to the CDPH, citing concerns about the potential public health and safety impacts this program for drug users could have on the community. Other officials filed letters of opposition or concern with the CDPH, including Santa Ana City Councilmembers and the Orange County Health Officer.

Past needle exchange programs have resulted in used hypodermic needles and syringes being discarded at public buildings, libraries, streets, sidewalks, residents’ lawns, parks and waterways. The provider did not properly collect or account for thousands of discarded syringes.

In their communication with the City, CDPH officials said they would like “to invite Santa Ana’s law enforcement officers to further engage and consult with CDPH on HRI’s application.” City officials remain concerned about any potential needle exchange program and will continue to advocate for the safety of Santa Ana’s residents and neighborhoods.

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