Pubdate: Tue, 21 Dec 1999
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 1999 San Jose Mercury News
Contact:  750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, CA 95190
Fax: (408) 271-3792


Officials in California's San Mateo County were slated to declare a local
health emergency on Tuesday, in order to legalize needle exchange programs. 

A law signed by California Gov. Gray Davis in October permits local
agencies to declare public health emergencies in order to legally hold
needle exchanges, and a growing number of counties in the area have done so.  

The counties that have issued such declarations--including Alameda and
Contra Costa last week, and Santa Clara, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz long
before that--will only be protected from prosecution after the law takes
effect, on January 1, 2000. 

A report issued earlier this month indicated that up to 13,000 San Mateo
County residents may be infected with hepatitis C, approximately two-thirds
of whom were infected via dirty syringes.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake