$500,000 needle exchange is approved

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a $500,000 certified needle exchange program, though two supervisors -- Mike Antonovich and Don Knabe -- questioned its benefits and suggested the money would be better spent on education and rehabilitation.

The program, financed with tobacco settlement funds, provides controlled access to clean needles to drug users and others. The purpose is to prevent HIV and other blood-borne diseases by offering a safe alternative to dirty needles.

Supervisors Gloria Molina, Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and Zev Yaroslavsky voted for it.