The Board of Supervisors recently heard heated concerns from residents about hazardous waste, such as syringes, being found in parks, beaches, etc. What is the Board doing to respond to these complaints?
First, some background on this issue is important. By 1995, the Centers for Disease Control reported that nearly three-fourths of all new HIV infections were linked to injection drug use, transmitted by sharing contaminated syringes. That same year, only seven California counties had a higher prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS than Santa Cruz, and an increasing number of these cases stemmed from injection drug use. At that time, our Health Services Agency reported that the percentage of AIDS cases not attributable to male/male sex had more than doubled from a mean of 12 percent in the years 1983-1990 to a mean of 27 percent in 1991-1993, and that 43 percent of female AIDS cases in the county were injection drug users.