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Rocklin, Loomis to vote on needle exchange program after Placer County supervisors approve ban

The ban is only in place for 45 days, or until Oct. 27 for the unincorporated areas of Placer County.

PLACER COUNTY, Calif. — The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to ban any programs or organizations from distributing hypodermic needles in the county.

The ban is in place for 45 days, or until Oct. 27 for the unincorporated areas of Placer County. According to the staff report, officials are also anticipating a permanent ordinance at a future board meeting.

At the end of July, an organization running a hypodermic needle distribution in Sacramento applied to extend to Placer County. Safer Alternatives thru Networking and Education (SANE), applied for a program meant to help stop the spread of infectious diseases from sharing needles.

"The improper collection and disposal of used hypodermic needles and syringes presents an imminent threat to the health, property, safety and welfare of the public. Syringe service programs operating near schools, parks and playgrounds have especially negative effects since they can result in improper disposal of syringes and the congregations of persons addicted or dependent on drugs near schools, parks and playgrounds," Deputy County Executive Officer Bekki Riggan said at the meeting.

Several people, including Placer County Sheriff Wayne Woo and Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire, expressed their support for the urgency ordinance banning the establishment, operation, use and/or participation of needle exchange or distribution programs.

"To see this company come in and say 'hey we just want to bring them everywhere into your county' without accountability is a huge problem because it's not a needle exchange, it's a needle access program. They are not required to actually get back needles," Supervisor Bonnie Gore said at the meeting.

The temporary ban gives the county time to monitor areas in California allowing and regulating syringe services for best practices. However, the ban doesn't apply to any cities in the county, according to County Counsel Clayton Cook.

The Auburn City Council voted Monday to pass a similar urgency ordinance as the board of supervisors. The Auburn Police Department received an application in Aug. 2023 for a Syringe Service Program. The urgency ordinance takes effect immediately.

The Rocklin City Council will vote Tuesday to prohibit syringe exchange programs in the city. The Rocklin Police Department received an application in Aug. 2023.

The Lincoln City Council is meeting Tuesday evening to discuss a mobile syringe service program proposed by SANE. The Loomis Town Council is also set to discuss a needle exchange and distribution program at a meeting on Tuesday evening. According to staff reports, the council is recommended to adopt an urgency ordinance prohibiting the program in Loomis.

The next Roseville City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 20.

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