#419 Congress Is Set To Stick It To Clean-Syringe Programs

Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009
Subject: #419 Congress Is Set To Stick It To Clean-Syringe Programs

CONGRESS IS SET TO STICK IT TO CLEAN-SYRINGE PROGRAMS

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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #419 – Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Today the Washington Post printed the editorial below.

Yesterday the New York Times printed an in-depth article “Bill Would
Limit Needle Exchanges” http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v09/n1009/a05.html

Please contact your Senators about this legislation.

The Harm Reduction Coalition has set up a Take Action page “Needle Ban
Fight Moves to Senate!” at http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1627/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27789
which may also be accessed via this shortcut http://drugsense.org/url/yvrS3vTu

Please forward this alert to others who may be interested.

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Source: Washington Post (DC)

Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company

Contact: letters@washpost.com

BLUNTED NEEDLES

Congress Is Set to Stick It to Clean-Syringe Programs

PROGRAMS THAT allow drug addicts to swap their dirty needles for
sterile syringes are effective in reducing the transmission of HIV,
the virus that causes AIDS. A 2008 report from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention notes that an 80 percent reduction in the
incidence of HIV in intravenous drug users over the past 20 years can
be attributed in part to such programs funded by private organizations
and localities. But Congress appears intent on gumming up the works.

At first glance, the congressional goings-on seem promising: The
promise is to lift a 21-year-old ban on federal funding of
needle-exchange programs. But the small print makes this promise all
but worthless, because Congress would prohibit those programs from
operating within 1,000 feet of a school, library, park, college, video
arcade or any place where children might be present. In other words,
just about anywhere.

Pending legislation is particularly punitive to the District. Just
last year, Congress finally allowed the District the spend its own
money on clean-needle programs. Now a bill would apply the same
1,000-foot restrictions to District programs both with federal money
and with its own. This would effectively shut down the District’s four
needle-exchange programs.

Thank Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) for hobbling this city’s efforts.
He’s “concerned for the safety of schoolchildren and the negative
impact of sending them mixed messages when it comes to drug
prevention,” his spokesman told us. Mr. Kingston’s concern doesn’t
jibe with the facts. The CDC, the American Medical Association, the
National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization concur
that needle-exchange programs reduce the spread of HIV without
increasing drug use.

The bills have already passed the House. It’s now up to the Senate to
strip the restrictions from the legislation. We urge it to do so.
Cities need every resource at their disposal to fight the HIV/AIDS
epidemic.

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Prepared by: Richard Lake, Senior Editor http://www.mapinc.org

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