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The California Legislature has found and declared that scientific data from syringe exchange programs (SEPS) have shown that SEPs can curtail the spread of HIV infection among injection drug users, that they do not increase drug use in the population and that SEPs can serve as an important bridge to treatment and recovery from substance use disorders.

To act upon these findings, the legislature passed and Govenor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 604 (Skinner, Chapter 744, Statutes of 2011). AB 604 permits the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Office of AIDS (OA) to establish a process through which qualified entities may apply directly to CDPH/OA for authorization to provide syringe exchange services, a process which the Department will term SEP "certification."

On July 17, 2013, the California Code of Regulations was amended to adopt Subchapter 15, Sections 7000 through 7016 of Title 17, Division 1, Chapter 4. These regulations established OA's SEP Certification Program.

Prior to passage of AB 604, only local governments had the legal standing to authorize SEPs. The new law and new regulations do not affect locally-authorized SEPs, and authorized SEPs are not required to apply for State certification. Local Boards of Supervisors and City Councils may continue to authorize SEPs to operate within their jurisdictions and are not required to follow standards set forth in the regulations for OA's SEP certification program.


Initial Statement of Reasons (PDF)Opens a new browser window.

The Initial Statement of Reasons (ISOR) explains why CDPH/OA proposed the adoption of these regulations, and provides background about the role of syringe exchange in preventing HIV and viral hepatitis. The ISOR also identifies the Documents Relied Upon which provides furhter resources for those interested in learning more about SEPs.

Documents Relied Upon (PDF)Opens a new browser window.

Approved Regulation Text (PDF)Opens a new browser window.

AB 604 (Skinner, Chapter 744, Statutes of 2011) (PDF)Opens a new browser window.

AB 604 Fact Sheet (PDF)Opens a new browser window.

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Last modified on: 8/18/2015 1:39 PM