Mayor Jerry Sanders is scheduled to announce his support for resuming the city’s clean-needle exchange program at a morning press conference Wednesday.

The program was discontinued when a shorthanded City Council was unable to garner the five votes needed to extend the program last July. Former City Councilmen Michael Zucchet and Ralph Inzunza, who supported the program, had resigned earlier in the month.

The council, which was restored to full strength after special elections in January, is set to take up the proposal again July 11.

Allowing residents to exchange old hypodermic needles for clean needles is touted by supporters as a way to combat the spread of AIDS and hepatitis.

Sanders’ support for the exchange signals a shift on certain social issues in the Mayor’s Office. Former Mayor Dick Murphy, who like Sanders is a Republican, opposed the needle exchange program.

In the past, council members Scott Peters, Toni Atkins, Tony Young and Donna Frye have shown support for the program. Councilmen Brian Maienschein and Jim Madaffer have opposed it.

[Note: The original version of this post said the press conference will be held Monday. We apologize for the error.]


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