Surviving Hepatitis C in AZ Jails, State Prisons, and Federal Detention Centers.

Surviving Hepatitis C in AZ Jails, State Prisons, and Federal Detention Centers.
The "Hard Time" blogspot is a volunteer-run site for the political organization of people with Hepatitis C behind and beyond prison walls, their loved ones, and whomever cares to join us. We are neither legal nor medical professionals. Some of us may organize for support, but this site is primarily dedicated to education and activism; we are fighting for prevention, detection, treatment, and a cure for Hepatitis C, particularly down in the trenches where most people are dying - in prison or on the street... Join us.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Terminating harm reduction hope in CALI.

Very disappointing news from This man just condemned countless more people to die unnecessarily from Hep C - and to infect others until they do. I think he's pandering to the conservative communities who don't want to allow needle sales - they don't really seem to care much if a bunch more addicts die...until the one that gets Hep C or HIV from a dirty needle ends up being their kid.

I'd love to set up a needle exchange program in Phoenix. Since Sheriff Joe doesn't run the county health department he really shouldn't get the final word on that. The legislature and Governor will need to support it, though. I'm not sure what it would take to win them over. It won't be easy.

Schwarzenegger also vetoed a bill that the legislature passed unanimously that would have prohibited the shackling of pregnant prisoners - particularly during labor - even those in on non-violent offenses. I don't understand that one at all, except that he has absolutely no concept of what a woman goes through. How are we a threat to public safety when giving birth?

There are far too many ignorant people in power in this nation today.

California Governor Vetoes Needle Access Bill

California Gov. Schwarzenegger could have made syringe sales to adults legal throughout the state in a bid to reduce the transmission of HIV and Hep C. Instead, he chose to extend a program leaving it up to cities and counties. 
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) last Thursday vetoed a bill that would have allowed pharmacies all over California sell syringes to adults without a prescription. The bill was touted by health experts as a key step in reducing the transmission of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other blood-borne diseases.

mobile needle exchange/clinic site, Fresno
The state Department of Public Health estimates that approximately 3,000 California residents contract hepatitis C through syringe sharing every year and another 750 cases of HIV are caused by syringe sharing. Sharing dirty needles is the leading cause of new hepatitis C infections in the state and the second leading cause of new HIV infections.

"When I signed legislation my first year in office allowing for a pilot program to allow the sale of syringes through participating counties and registered pharmacies, I was seeking to balance the competing public health, law enforcement and local control issues that this issue requires," the governor wrote in his veto message [8]. "I believe this balance was achieved and SB 1029 [9] would remove the ability of local officials to best determine policies in their jurisdiction. Some counties have not sought to implement this pilot program, citing competing priorities, lack of pharmacy interest and law enforcement opposition. I respect these local decisions and while I appreciate the author’s hard work and dedication to this issue, I cannot sign this bill," Schwarzenegger wrote.

Instead, Schwarzenegger signed AB 1701 [10], which extends the existing Disease Prevention Demonstration Project for another eight years. That gives cities and counties the option of opting out of the program and not allowing syringe sales without a prescription.

The veto angered SB 1029 author Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who in a statement last Friday said Schwarzenegger apparently "was not interested in an effective public health measure that would reduce health care costs to taxpayers. Not only did he ignore the recommendation of doctors and other health experts, but he ignored the fact that HIV-AIDS and hepatitis do not recognize county borders. Such epidemics are certain to continue without implementing these comprehensive strategies."

SB 1029's approach "has been evaluated extensively throughout the world and has been found to significantly reduce rates of HIV and hepatitis without contributing to any increase in drug use, drug injection, crime or unsafe discard of syringes," Yee continued. "In fact, there is not one credible study that refutes these findings. The governor’s veto is a moral and fiscal dilemma."

The veto was "tragic and infuriating," said Laura Thomas of the Drug Policy Alliance [11], which supported Yee's bill. "It is an irrational attachment to drug war hysteria, at the expense of human life and fiscal responsibility to the California taxpayer," she said. "Nothing would have worked better and cost less in reducing the spread of HIV and hepatitis C than SB 1029."

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