This morning the TBSC Needle Solutions team sent a formal response to the County for consideration during the planned Health Services Agency’s (HSA) presentation tomorrow, Tuesday June 11th at 1:30pm. See Agenda Item no. 20 “2019 Biennial Report on the County’s Syringe Services Program (SSP)“. We are urging the following actions by the Board of Supervisors:
- Vote NO on the HSA’s recommended expansion of SSP hours at the Emeline campus and Watsonville Health Center. The HSA failed to conduct outreach to Emeline neighbors despite the potential for negative impact.
- Vote NO on the HSA’s recommended incorporation of SSP into the Homeless Persons Health Project (“HPHP”) clinical field services. This recommendation is too vague and thus provided insufficient notice to the public. The HSA failed to conduct outreach to Harvey West neighbors despite the potential for negative impact.
- Include data from NST’s Needles in Public Spaces (“NIPS”) Log in the CDPH syringe litter study. Any study undertaken without this information will be incomplete.
- Vote YES on including an option for reporting discarded syringes on the Citizen Connect application. Since the County distributes syringes, it should have greater responsibility for picking them up.
- Direct the HSA to immediately cease its practice of giving syringes and permission to distribute them without transparency and accountability to a third-party non-profit, Harm Reduction Coalition of Santa Cruz (“HRC”), or any other similar group. This practice is unlawful, disregards the unanimous opposition by every law enforcement agency in the county, and has led to a drastic reduction of clients seen by medical professionals at the SSP.
- Encourage a culture of recovery in the community, rather normalizing or accepting drug addiction by simply handing out syringes without any focus on hope and recovery. Syringe services should be always be a part of a larger network of wrap- around services in a medical setting.
- Direct the HSA to provide documents responsive to our PRA Request regarding secondary exchange, instead of attempting to hide behind HIPAA privacy regulations.
- Enforce a true 1:1 exchange policy at the County SSP to keep our streets, parks and beaches free of dirty syringes, and in recognition of the County’s efforts to reduce plastic pollution (Agenda Item No. 88).
- Amend the SSP Advisory Group structure to make it more transparent and community driven. The makeup of the current group is extremely biased and geared towards HSA staff while ignoring the concerns of the public at large.
This is an opportunity for YOU, the public, so voice your opinions and concerns about the County’s Syringe Services Program. Please take advantage of it! The Biennial Report meeting only happens every two years.
WHAT: Board of Supervisors Meeting – SSP Biennial Report
WHEN: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 1:30pm
WHERE: 701 Ocean Street, Room 525
You can download a complete copy of the response and supporting documentation below.