CHICO, Calif. - A group of Chico citizens, businesses and civic leaders announced Tuesday they have filed a lawsuit to halt the syringe distribution program in Chico.
The program is certified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and operated by North Valley Harm Reduction Coalition (NVHRC).
Needles found at Bidwell Junior High in Chico.
The plaintiffs include approximately 400 independent businesses represented by the Downtown Chico Business Association (DCBA), along with other citizens and businesses operating throughout Chico, a McNeill Law Office Attorney said in a press release.
The suit alleges violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), failure to abate a public nuisance, a writ of mandate to set aside the unlawful approval of NVHRC in violation of local ordinances and certification of a non-entity and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.
In the press release issued by McNeill Law Offices, they stated that "Since the NVHRC began holding weekly drug kit giveaways in Humboldt Community Park in addition to other activities within the Chapman neighborhood, the increase in needle litter has created a serious threat to the citizens of Chico and beyond, has made drug paraphernalia available to minors, has created a public nuisance that has an negative impact the quality of life for individual citizens, and has created an ongoing economic blight for local businesses."
The press release added that the program undermines and is in direct conflict with the land use ordinances of the City of Chico and Butte County by creating an "explicit needle distribution geographic zone," and has caused needles and associated drug paraphernalia to be funneled indiscriminately into Chico and Butte County through a random collection of “volunteers” who have no responsibility to abide by State regulations, much less the norms of community safety and concerns."
The objective of the lawsuit is to stop the NVHRC operations in Chico, and to restore the safety and security of the community. Along with the immediate goal to obtain a preliminary injunction halting operations of NVHRC pending the resolution of this case,