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Needle Exchange Ban Lifted From DC Budget

Associated Press, June 6, 2007

WASHINGTON -- A congressional subcommittee has voted to lift a ban on the use of local tax money for a needle exchange program in the District.

Members of the House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government voted Tuesday to remove the prohibition from an appropriations bill governing the D.C. budget.

The measure has been included as a rider each year since 1998.

The District has one of the worst rates of HIV/AIDS infection in the country. Officials said intravenous drug users account for a third of new AIDS cases, reported each year.

A nonprofit group has operated a limited needle exchange program in the city for several years.

The District budget is still subject to a series of votes in the House and Senate before it is sent to the White House for President George W. Bush's signature.

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty has said he would provide local funding for a needle exchange program if the ban is removed.


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