Needle program adds physician to resume distribution services in Chico
A controversial needle handout program may return to chico.
The north valley harm reduction coalition wants to start giving out needles again.
This time at park and 18th on the south side of town.
Thats where we finds action news now reporter tori apodaca.
Tori -- what's different this time around?
Now they'll have a doctor present and state law says - that's all they need to give needles out to people.
And they're going to do it right here hayley.
Angel gomez, northern valley harm reduction coalition "physicians are going to be able to expand our offerings."
Take a look at what the needle distribution program in chico looked like less than a year ago.
Now, the northern valley harm reduction coalition wants to start handing out needles again, but this time with a phsyician on hand.
Angel gomez "they will be assessing the individual needs of people that come to participate with us, so it will be up to the physician to survive what kind of access they give to individuals."
Angel gomez from nvhrc tells action news now a lot of bad things happen when people don't have access to new syringes.
Angel gomez "people who inject drugs often have relationships with people that don't inject drugs, so its not going to be isolated to that one."
But what are local leaders against needle programs saying?
Andrew coolidge, mayor of chico "they say they want to prevent the spread of disease between at-risk communities, but in doing so they are putting the entire community at risk."
The california department of public health says "syringe services provided by physicians and pharmacists... do not require separate authorization by state or local government."
But assemblyman james gallagher says it should be up to the residents "the local community should have input on how this thing is going to be operated and have the final deciding vote."
Now that the nvhrc has a doctor - gomez says local rules and ordinances don't apply.
Angel gomez "our model of program, that authorization won't affect it."
I spoke to around a dozen people today.
It was split evenly between those for and against a needle distribution in chico.
Now those in support did tell me they prefer it done here and not community parks.
Live in chico, tori apodaca.
Action news now.
Coverage you can count on.
The nvhrc plans to start services at their new location in either mid may or early june.