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The Disease Prevention Demonstration Project


The Disease Prevention Demonstration Project was established by Senate Bill (SB) 1159 (Vasconcellos, Chapter 608, Statutes of 2004) to evaluate the long-term desirability of allowing pharmacies to sell nonprescription syringes to prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases. The law permitted pharmacies to sell syringes without a prescription after registering with their local health departments. Nineteen local governments in California elected to participate in the pilot.

Researchers evaluated the effects of the demonstration project in a report returned to the Legislature in 2010. The study found that 40-45% of injection drug users surveyed in jurisdictions that authorized NPSS reported never sharing syringes during the previous two years, compared to 22-32% of injection drug users surveyed in jurisdictions without access to sterile syringes through pharmacies. The research also found:

  • No evidence of elevated crime rates in counties that authorized nonprescription syringe sale;
  • No increase in syringe litter within participating jurisdictions; and
  • No differences in needle-stick injuries among law enforcement officers in counties that authorized local pilot programs, compared to counties that did not.

Download the SB 1159 Evaluation Report: Over-the-Counter Pharmacy Syringe Sales in California (PDF)


Picture of a pharmacistA Fundamental Service: The California Disease Prevention Demonstration Project and nonprescription syringe sales- This educational documentary for pharmacists features interviews with public health officials and with pharmacists who have been providing nonprescription syringes to their customers. The video explores the role of pharmacists in reducing the spread of HIV and viral hepatitis in their communities. 


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Last modified on: 9/12/2014 4:37 PM