We are heartened that Senator Moorlach and supporters of SB 689 acknowledge the overwhelming proof on the efficacy of syringe exchange purposes: they decrease the unfold of infectious sickness; do not enhance drug use or native crime; and generally act as an entry degree for people who use injection drugs to entry healthcare, drug remedy, and sources for their restoration.
However, when Moorlach proposes elevated “local control” over syringe exchanges, he is not stepping forward to be a part of the reply. Indeed, SB689 is no decision the least bit. At no time does he sort out how native officers could or will improve syringe exchange efforts in Orange County.
Instead, Moorlach is using the cloak of native administration to masks Orange County officers’ full unwillingness to carry out their very personal damage low cost actions or work with the Orange County Needle Exchange Program (OCNEP) to boost its operations. Local administration would perform a barrier to syringe exchange purposes and by no means a promise to help reform and improve them.
We would know: as long-time members of OCNEP’s administration, we have usually tried to draw native members of City Councils, regulation enforcement, and the OC Health Care Agency into the battle in opposition to the opioid epidemic. OCNEP was based mostly because of Orange County was (and as quickly as in opposition to is) crucial county in California with out an evidence-based syringe exchange. Unfortunately, the least bit junctures we have been met with willful blindness to the proof behind syringe exchange, hostility within the path of efforts for compromise, and foot-dragging spherical accepting the need for a syringe exchange in Orange County.
We do not contest the argument that collaborative relationships between syringe exchanges, native metropolis councils, police, and effectively being officers are essential to serving to every people who use injection drugs and likewise the broader neighborhood. In fact, many syringe exchanges all through California have not wanted to go looking authorization from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) because of native officers have been ready to play their half in damage low cost efforts. Instead of litigation, OCNEP would fairly be working with officers to keep away from losing the lives of Orange County residents.
But by passing ordinances in opposition to syringe exchange and providing no totally different choices, native City Councils have confirmed that they’ve little curiosity in combating the opioid epidemic. By suing (fairly than collaborating with) OCNEP, the OC Board of Supervisors made it clear that they have no precise concern for our purchasers. The state’s functionality to authorize syringe purposes by the CDPH inside the face of native inaction must be preserved.
Orange County’s mannequin of native administration is feigning concern about injection drug clients and the opioid epidemic whereas making an attempt to crush damage low cost efforts inside the County that did and would proceed to keep away from losing lives. By not offering a single decision to factors that existed with OCNEP, it is clear that SB689 supporters are cosy with persevering with to ignore the very precise draw back of substance use and overdose deaths in Orange County.
Local administration solely works if native authorities actually must unravel points, and Orange County officers solely turned enthusiastic about that administration after they sought to shut OCNEP down. Local administration is Orange County’s cowl for denying entry to needed sources as a result of the nation’s opioid epidemic rages on.
Nathan Birnbaum is a fourth-year medical pupil at UC Irvine School of Medicine. Dallas Augustine is a doctoral candidate inside the Department of Criminology, Law, and Society at UC Irvine. Mahan Naeim is a graduate of UC Irvine with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering.