North County is United Against Free Needles

Earlier today, I stood alongside North County leaders as we voiced our opposition to the County of San Diego’s proposed needle program. Every city in North County was represented with Vista Mayor John Franklin, San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones, Escondido Mayor Dane White, Oceanside Deputy Mayor Ryan Keim, and Carlsbad Councilmember Melanie Burkholder all speaking out against the program.


The reality is that most individuals living on the street are grappling with severe substance abuse problems. This program enables and normalizes dangerous drug use. By providing free needles and “safe smoking” devices including pipes and other supplies, the County of San Diego is sending a message to those struggling with addiction that our society accepts and condones the consumption of illicit drugs. This approach not only perpetuates the addiction crisis but also jeopardizes the safety and well-being of our community.

Instead of embracing a misguided harm reduction strategy, we must focus on preventative measures, comprehensive addiction treatment, and rehabilitation programs.

Escondido Mayor, Dane White’s journey is an inspirational testament to the transformative power of recovery. Once homeless and severely addicted to drugs, Mayor White’s life turned positive when he discovered the North Inland Regional Recovery Center in Escondido. Through determination and resilience, he checked himself in, embarked on a path to sobriety, and never fell back into homelessness. His personal experience fuels his commitment to advocating for comprehensive addiction support and providing hope to others in similar circumstances.

Listen to his powerful words about why “Harm Reduction” does not work!


The recent overdose event near the Oceanside pier was a stark reminder of the severity of the drug crisis. Six individuals overdosed simultaneously, but thanks to the prompt response of our exceptional first responders who administered Narcan, all six were revived and walked away.

However, instead of addressing the root problem and implementing necessary measures for treatment and recovery, the proposed approach of providing more tools for drug use risks perpetuating the cycle of addiction and further endangering lives.

Listen to the words from Deputy Mayor, Ryan Keim.


Enabling drug use through the distribution of free needles and crack pipes is a deeply flawed approach that fails to address the real needs of individuals struggling with addiction. We must reject this misguided harm reduction program and pursue alternative strategies that genuinely help those in need.

If you haven’t done so yet, you can still sign the petition to stop this program!

San Diego County District 5 Supervisor Jim Desmond