#347 Let Public Health Officials Save Lives

Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2007
Subject: #347 Let Public Health Officials Save Lives


*********************PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE*************************

DrugSense FOCUS Alert #347 – Tuesday, 5 June 2007

On Monday, the editorial board of the New York Times sternly denounced
the U.S. Congress because of a law that does not allow Washington,
D.C. to use city funds to support needle exchange programs.

The objections raised are the same tired and indefensible hooey that
runs counter to esteemed medical and public health advice worldwide.

Please consider writing and sending a Letter to the Editor to the New
York Times commending them for their stand. You may personalize your
letter to share testimony about yourself, someone you know or perhaps
the community where you live and why you endorse increased public
health and safety.

Perhaps a fact from this webpage could be the core of your letter

Letters to the New York Times must be 150 words or less for
publication. They must also be exclusive to the Times. So please
don’t send a copy of a letter which has been printed elsewhere.

Please also contact your members of Congress about this issue. To find
out how to contact them go to http://congress.org/stickers/?dir=congressorg&officials=1

Thanks for your effort and support.

It’s not what others do it’s what YOU do


Additional suggestions for writing LTEs are at our Media Activism Center:


Or contact MAP Media Activism Facilitator Steve Heath for personal
tips on how to write LTEs that get printed.



Contact: letters@nytimes.com

Pubdate: Mon, 04 Jun 2007

Source: New York Times (NY)

Copyright: 2007 The New York Times Company


Washington, D.C., is one of America’s AIDS hot spots. A significant
proportion of infections can be traced back to intravenous drug users
who shared contaminated needles and then passed on the infection to
spouses, lovers or unborn children.

This public health disaster is partly the fault of Congress. It has
wrongly and disastrously used its power over the District of
Columbia’s budget to bar the city from spending even locally raised
tax dollars on programs that have slowed the spread of disease by
giving drug addicts access to clean needles.

Every state in the union allows some system for providing addicts with
clean needles. But nearly a decade ago, ideologues in Congress who
were unable to derail needle programs in their own states chose to
grandstand on the issue when it came time to pass the District’s
appropriation bill. Barred from spending local tax dollars on these
medically necessary programs, the city has limped along with a
privately financed operation that turns away more people than it serves.

Critics offer the same know-nothing arguments. They say that handing
out needles legitimizes drug use — even though studies here and
abroad showed long ago that the programs cut the infection rate
without increasing addiction. They say that addicts should be offered
treatment instead of clean needles — even though addicts who want
treatment must sometimes wait for months or even years to get in.
While they wait, they continue to use drugs and become infected.

Congress’s ban on even locally financed needle exchange programs in
the District of Columbia is an insult to the city’s voters and a clear
hazard to public health. Ideologues, in the House in particular, need
to get out of the way and let public health officials save lives.



Please post a copy of your letter or report your action to the sent
letter list ( sentlte@mapinc.org) if you are subscribed, or by
E-mailing a copy directly to heath@mapinc.org if you are not
subscribed. Your letter will then be forwarded to the list so others
can learn from your efforts.

Subscribing to the Sent LTE list ( sentlte@mapinc.org ) will help you
to review other sent LTEs and perhaps come up with new ideas or
approaches as well as keeping others aware of your important writing

To subscribe to the Sent LTE mailing list see



Prepared by: The MAP Media Activism Team www.mapinc.org/resource