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Santa Monica mayor say it is time to finish L.A. County needle change program at park

Santa Monica metropolis officers and residents are calling for an finish to a Los Angeles County Division of Public Well being weekly needle change program in Reed Park.

In an open letter despatched to county officers final week, Santa Monica Mayor Sue Himmelrich referred to as for this system to be relocated from public areas within the metropolis and ideally to an indoor web site.

She outlined Santa Monica’s 4 pillars technique, which goals to “tackle homelessness and stop residents from changing into unhoused.” A kind of pillars is to take care of entry to the town’s open areas, one thing Himmelrich’s letter states the syringe change program impedes with every week.

“We perceive our restricted regulatory authority,” the letter reads, “nonetheless, moderately than implement this program in our parks and open areas, we search your help in instantly transferring this program to a service wealthy surroundings (ideally indoors) the place people in want of substance abuse, psychological well being, and different companies can coordinate and work straight with service suppliers.”

Himmelrich’s letter states that Santa Monica officers have requested a proper proposal that outlines new restrictions on the time, place and method of the syringe change program throughout the metropolis.

Presently, the county Division of Public Well being, alongside the Venice Household Clinic, units up weekly, three-hour visits to the park to distribute clear needles and Narcan doses as a part of the county’s Hurt Discount Syringe Companies Program.

Brian Hurley, the medical director for substance abuse prevention and management at county well being, stated the division was conscious of the neighborhood’s considerations earlier than receiving the letter.

“In our view, the neighborhood considerations, whereas I can perceive them, I additionally would underscore that it’s not as if the county Division of Public Well being is aspiring to overwhelm the park with an amazing variety of companies,” Hurley stated. “We’re speaking about one thing that’s three hours per week.”

Hurley stated negotiations to relocate this system are underway with county and Santa Monica metropolis officers, and concepts embody transferring the weekly companies to an indoor location or utilizing a van that folks can sit inside, away from view. However these concepts pose their very own challenges, Hurley stated.

Protecting this system simply accessible is paramount, Hurley stated, and is an extra step that requires consideration when discussing relocation.. This system will proceed to function out of Reed Park till an answer is reached.

“We have a look at this as a chance to develop entry to overdose prevention, not curtail it,” Hurley stated. “If which means adjusting among the places or method wherein we ship, we will try this. However we’d like to verify we’re targeted on the purpose of those companies … Not in search of to take a service away due to considerations about its visibility.”



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