San Diego rejoined scores of cities yesterday when it reinstated a needle exchange program for drug users, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. In a 6-1 vote, the City Council brought back the program, abandoned a year ago when it lost political support. Mayor Jerry Sanders, former police chief, led the move to reinstate the mobile clinics in the face of opposition from some local residents of areas where the exchanges take place.
Supporters say the program is key to battling AIDS and hepatitis C, which can be spread by sharing dirty needles. Opponents say the government is promoting drug use. In three years when the program was operating previously, 348,832 dirty syringes were collected and 285,524 clean ones were distributed.