Advertisement

Deadline is Monday to comment on proposed mobile needle-exchange program that would operate in Costa Mesa

Deadline is Monday to comment on proposed mobile needle-exchange program that would operate in Costa Mesa
Syringes were left along the banks of the Santa Ana River after a large homeless encampment was removed in November. (File Photo / Los Angeles Times)

Residents have only a few days left to express their thoughts about a proposed mobile needle-exchange service that would operate partly in Costa Mesa’s Westside.

Comments may be emailed by 11:59 p.m. Monday to the California Department of Public Health at sepapplication@cdph.ca.gov.

Advertisement

The state health agency will decide the fate of an application from the Orange County Needle Exchange Program, a nonprofit that seeks to provide drug users with clean needles and other supplies from a van. The intent is to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV, the organization says.

The group previously operated out of the Santa Ana Civic Center, but the city scuttled the program in January, citing an increase in the number of discarded syringes in the area.

Advertisement

Before shutting down, the needle exchange was the only one of its kind in Orange County.

In Costa Mesa, the program could run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily in the area between West 16th and 18th streets from Monrovia Avenue west to the outer border of the Armstrong Petroleum building, according to the program’s proposal.

If the state signs off, the mobile service also would operate in Santa Ana, Anaheim and Orange.

Costa Mesa police and city officials already have expressed their opposition to the proposal, as has the Orange County Board of Supervisors. Newport Beach leaders also oppose the plan because part of the proposed Costa Mesa service area borders Newport Beach.

“This program could be a magnet for drug users in other cities where a needle-exchange program does not exist, thus drawing more drug users to Costa Mesa,” police Capt. Bryan Glass wrote to the Department of Public Health in a memo opposing the application in May.

Advertisement
Advertisement