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City of Eureka drafting ordinance to regulate syringe exchange

H.A.C.H.R. syringe exchange

After public concern about needles littering the streets caught the attention of city officials, the city of Eureka decided to draft an ordinance that would address needle waste.

"We've seen a lot of syringe waste really, just seem to grow in the last couple years," Eureka City Manager Greg Sparks said. "We've had people at every council meeting for the last several months very concerned about syringe waste."

Sparks said Eureka has been looking to other cities with similar ordinances to find ideas and regulations they would like to implement here.

"We pulled some things from Denver, we pulled some things from Santa Cruz," Sparks said. "I found a section in the ordinance from Sacramento I liked, and now looking at an ordinance that San Luis Obispo that just passed in January."

Sparks said the main focus of the ordinance will be creating regulations for the local syringe exchange.

"This ordinance really tries to get at really kind of establishing the working relationship with the syringe exchange program in this case the Humboldt area Center for Harm Reduction."

The Humboldt area Center for Harm Reduction, better known as HACHR, was unavailable for comment, but Sparks said they have been stakeholders in the process since October.

"Some of the things we want to implement is requiring the syringe exchange to conduct cleanups," Sparks said. "And another thing we really want to focus on is requiring the exchanges to encourage people to get into rehab programs."

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