OC Supervisor Vicente Sarmiento, 2nd District

Twitter    Instagram

May 25, 2023

Dear Friends and Neighbors,


I urge you to join me in submitting a public comment to California's Department of Public Health opposing a proposed expansion to the Harm Reduction Institute's (HRI) application to add mobile delivery of syringe needles to its existing operations within our county. The HRI is a drug intervention nonprofit organization based in Santa Ana. As a lifelong Santa Ana resident and as an Orange County Supervisor representing the second district, which includes the city of Santa Ana, I am personally aware of the opposition from my constituents to the mobile delivery of syringes and needles.

I recognize the importance of harm reduction through the use of sterile needles to help reduce the transmission of infections, including HIV and Hepatitis C. However, I disagree with the proposed collection strategy of used syringes since past needle exchange efforts have resulted in most of them turning up as litter near schools, parks, and other public spaces, endangering many in our community, including children, seniors, and frontline emergency workers.

We have seen this play out before. Santa Ana has had negative experiences with syringe exchange programs, including the OC Needle Exchange Program (2016-2018) and Harm Reduction Institute (2019-2022). The burden of used syringes littering the community was overwhelming. HRI’s cause is noble, but the proposed requirements and safeguards for collecting used syringes are unacceptable and directly endanger our community. I urge you to submit your comments and let the state's Department of Public Health understand the local perspective on this application and consider other methods to meet the goals of this effort.


The deadline to submit public comments is Friday, May 26, 2023@ 11:59 PM.

Link to submit public comment form



Vicente Sarmiento
Supervisor, Second District
County of Orange Board of Supervisors