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Back to Syringe Exchange news page

Needle-Exchange Victory
The District is a step closer to getting a tool it needs to fight HIV/AIDS.

The Washington Post, July 2, 2007

OF THE 36 congressional riders that cluttered the appropriations bill for the District of Columbia, the ban on the use of local funds for needle-exchange programs was the most harmful. With intravenous drug use accounting for about one-third of new AIDS cases each year, the District has had to watch from the sidelines as the scourge with no cure claimed more and more lives. That congressionally enforced inaction might be coming to a merciful end with the House's vote last week to repeal the prohibition.

Since 1998, the District has been forbidden to use its own money to fund needle exchanges. Thank Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) for this. He is among that group of politicians who firmly believe that giving addicts clean needles encourages drug use or is ineffective. Never mind that needle-exchange programs greatly reduce the risk of contracting or spreading HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and that they put the users in contact with workers who could steer them into drug treatment. Never mind that medical groups, including the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recognize such programs as key tools to combat the epidemic.

An amendment to reinstate the needle-exchange funding ban for the District was defeated. Now the action turns to the Senate. Giving the District the power to use its own money to help fight a fatal disease ravaging its population should remain untouched.

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Kevin B. Zeese, President -- Mike Gray, Chairman -- Robert E. Field, Co-Chairman -- Melvin R. Allen, Board Member -- Doug McVay, Director of Research & Editor
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Updated: Monday, July 02, 2007   ~   Accessed: 4565 times
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