BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey addressed the Butte County Board of Supervisors about the state's decision to let a needle access program come to Chico.
The State Public Health Department approved the plan that was submitted by the Northern Valley Harm Reduction Coalition. They said it's so people with drug additions can have clean needles and a way to safely dispose of used needles.
Since it was approved by the state, Mike Ramsey said there is very little the county or city of Chico can do to stop it.
“In Chico, there has already been a realization of the locations where the needle program will go," said Ramsey. "Certainly not at an ABC licensed cafe. So that was taken off the board as I understand, and it’s a matter of the state has most of the power doing this, but citizens can express themselves whether they feel it’s proper or not.”
Ramsey said he would be in support of an exchange program, but the structure of the access program worries him.
“There’s obviously a difference between a needle exchange program and a needle access program," said Ramsey. "Looking into a needle exchange program to prevent the liter that would obviously occur. If you can get someone who is bringing in needles to exchange for needles then you have less of the needles left out for children to run across or anyone to run across."
Angel Gomez from the Northern Valley Harm Reduction Coalition said they are required to have a way for people to dispose of needles.
“We will provide any participants with Sharps containers, they can bring them back to us and we will provide them with a new one," said Gomez. "If they do not have a container we will have some on sight so they can dispose of them right there. We will also give information on other places they can drop it off.”
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The program will start when the Northern Valley Harm Reduction Coalition starts receiving its supplies.