Needle Exchange

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DPA Press Release: Congressman Continues to Make Ignorant Statements About Needle Exchanges Programs; Advocates to Bring Him Evidence so He Can Stop Embarrassing Himself

For Immediate Release: June 6, 2007 For More Info: Bill Piper (202) 669-6430 or Naomi Long (202) 669-6071 Rep. Tiahrt (R-Kan.) Continues to Make Uninformed Statements That Discount the Proven Effectiveness of Needle Exchange Programs Advocates to Deliver Mountain of Evidence to Tiahrt’s Office Today So the Kansas Congressman Can Stop Embarrassing Himself Despite Washington, D.C. having one of the worst HIV infection rates in the country, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) continues to ignore the mountain of scientific evidence that proves the effectiveness of syringe exchange programs at reducing the transmission of HIV/AIDS, hepatits C and other infectious disease. Tiahrt’s assertion that there are no proven studies that show the efficacy syringe exchange programs is a direct effort to sabotage a recent Congressional effort to remove the ban on funding syringe exchange programs in Washington, D.C. In a strong editorial in today’s Washington Post calling for D.C. to be allowed to fund needle exchange programs, Tiahrt is quoted claiming “…needle exchange programs have been proven in many studies to be ineffective and a threat to the surrounding community, especially the children.” In response, the Drug Policy Alliance will hand deliver numerous studies proving the effectiveness of needle exchange programs to Tiahrt’s office today. “Rep. Tiahrt’s claims that syringe exchange programs don’t work is similar to claiming the world is flat,” said Bill Piper, national affairs director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “We want him to have the information so he doesn’t continue to embarrass himself and, more importantly, sabotage this life-saving measure.” Every established medical, scientific, and legal body to study the issue concurs in the efficacy of improved access to sterile syringes to reduce the spread of infectious diseases: including the National Academy of Sciences, American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and President George H.W. Bush's and President Clinton's AIDS Advisory Commissions. Eight government reports concur that access to sterile syringes deceases the transmission of infectious diseases without increasing drug use. No reports contradict these findings. On Tuesday, June 5, Congress moved one step closer to lifting the funding ban on syringe exchange programs in Washington, D.C. The House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government removed the ban from an appropriations bill that includes the city’s spending plan. In 1998, Tiahrt and the Republican-led Congress barred the D.C. government from spending its own local funds on syringe exchange programs. The ban was reauthorized in the appropriations bill every year since. But with Democrats now in power, the push to lift the ban gained traction. Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), who chairs the committee, spearheaded the effort to lift the ban. It has been long established by the scientific community that needle exchange programs reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS amongst people who inject drugs without increasing drug use. In Washington, D.C., injecting drugs is the second-most common means of contracting HIV among men—and the most common form among women. Approximately one-third of new AIDS cases annually are the result of intravenous drug use. DC’s syringe exchange program is crucial to getting people with substance abuse problems into drug treatment. The program estimates it refers about 50 people a month to treatment. Needle exchange programs help public health professionals assess the medical needs of clients, gain trust in the community by meeting clients in their own surroundings, and provide educational materials and referrals.
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Press Release: Clean Syringe Funding Ban for DC Lifted!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 5, 2007 CONTACT: Naomi Long, (202) 669-6071 or Bill Piper, (202) 669-6430 Clean Syringe Funding Ban for District of Colombia Lifted Rep. Serrano Removes Provision Prohibiting Tax Payer Money Going to D.C. Syringe Exchange Programs Today Congress moved to lift the funding ban on syringe exchange programs in Washington, DC. The House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government removed the ban from an appropriations bill that includes the city’s spending plan. In 1998, the Republican-led Congress barred the District Government from spending its own local funds on syringe exchange programs. The ban has been reauthorized in the appropriations bill every year since. But with Democrats now in power, the push to lift the ban gained traction. Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), who chairs the committee, spearheaded the effort to lift the ban. “This is a huge step in helping to reduce HIV and AIDS in Washington, DC,” said Naomi Long, director of the Washington Metro office for the Drug Policy Alliance. “We are pleased that Congress decided to stop playing politics with the lives of intravenous drug users in D.C.” It has been long established by the scientific community that needle exchange programs reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS amongst people who inject drugs without increasing drug use. In Washington, DC, injecting drugs is the second-most common means of contracting HIV among men - and the most common form among women. Approximately one-third of new AIDS cases annually are the result of intravenous drug use. Supporters of needle exchange include the American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, Centers for Disease Control and three former U.S. Surgeons General. A number of faith communities officially support needle exchange including The Presbyterian Church (USA), Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ.
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

DrugSense FOCUS Alert #347: Let Public Health Officials Save Lives

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 http://www.drugwarfacts.org/syringee.htm 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: http://www.mapinc.org/resource/#guides Or contact MAP Media Activism Facilitator Steve Heath for personal tips on how to write LTEs that get printed. heath@mapinc.org ********************************************************************** Contact: letters@nytimes.com Pubdate: Mon, 04 Jun 2007 Source: New York Times (NY) Copyright: 2007 The New York Times Company CONGRESS HOBBLES THE AIDS FIGHT 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 SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER 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 efforts. To subscribe to the Sent LTE mailing list see http://www.mapinc.org/lists/index.htm#form.
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Press Release: California to Fund Needle Exchange Programs for the First Time

For Immediate Release: June 4, 2007 California to Fund Needle Exchange Programs for the First Time, Governor Passage of Legislation Still Needed to Purchase Syringes SACRAMENTO -- For the first time, the state of California will fund some needle exchange programs. On June 1, the HIV Education and Prevention Services Branch of the Office of AIDS announced awards totaling $2.25 million of direct state funding to Syringe Exchange Programs (SEPs). Ten syringe exchange programs were awarded for $75,000 a year each for three years. Community-based organizations that operate SEPs and local health jurisdictions in areas where SEPs are approved for operation were awarded the grants. Because of a California law that denies the use of state funds to purchase syringes themselves, this funding will be dedicated to improving access to sterile syringes by increasing SEP operating hours, purchasing non-syringe operating materials, expanding syringe exchange to new locations, adding staff or improving compensation for existing staff as well as adding outreach workers, to encouraging clients of SEPs to test for HIV and HCV and link clients to medical care when appropriate. Funds may also be used to add services, such as wound care, that improve overall health and wellness for injection drug users. Assemblymember John Laird is sponsoring a bill, AB 110, to change the state law that denies the use of state HIV prevention funds for the purchase of syringes for clean needle and syringe exchange projects. The same bill was passed by a strong majority in the California legislature last year, but was pulled when Governor Schwarzenegger threatened a veto. Proponents are hopeful that this funding from the Office of AIDS will demonstrate the need for state commitment to such programs. "This funding represents a positive sea change in terms of support for needle exchange in California, said Hilary McQuie of the Harm Reduction Coalition, "But there are over 30 other programs in CA that don't get any state funding and survive on a shoestring, while courageously serving as a bridge between active injection drug users and medical and social services, reducing the spread of HIV and other blood borne diseases, and reducing the number of syringes discarded in public places. The governor should follow the lead of the Office of AIDS, and let local communities use their prevention dollars as they see fit." According to the Center for Disease Control, over a third of adult AIDS cases are associated directly or indirectly with injection drug use. In California, sharing contaminated injection equipment accounts for 20 percent of new AIDS cases. State data also suggests that more than 1500 new HIV infections occur annually due to syringe sharing. Seventy-five percent of HIV infections among women and children are related to sharing of injection equipment, and communities of color are hit especially hard. In addition to the human toll, the cost of medical treatment ranges from $200,000 to $600,000 over the lifetime of one HIV patient. # # # # The Harm Reduction Coalition is a national advocacy and capacity-building organization that promotes the health and dignity of individuals and communities impacted by drug use. For more information, see www.harmreduction.org
Location: 
Sacramento, CA
United States

Needle Funding Ban May Soon End

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Washington Post
URL: 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/04/AR2007060401552.html?hpid=topnews

Congress Should Let DC Fund Needle Exchange

Back during our jury civil disobedience in 2004, David Guard and I did our community service time at the needle exchange program here in Washington and got to know the people there. They've been doing a lot for the community, all of it with privately-raised funds, but more is needed to be able to reach all the people who are at risk from contracting diseases like AIDS or Hepatitis C through needle sharing. The District of Columbia government would almost certainly fund needle exchange work, but Congress gets to control what our budget looks like if they want to, and in their infinite wisdom (sarcasm) they decided to forbid DC from spending even its own taxpayer dollars on needle exchange. Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), who chairs the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which has jurisdiction over this area of the US Code, has said he wants to undo the restriction. Today the New York Times ran a strongly supportive editorial:
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.
The Times titled the editorial "Congress Hobbles the AIDS Fight." The activist paraphrase of that, which is how the editorial was first presented to me, would be "Congress has blood on its hands." Last week the Times also ran a news feature about DC's needle exchange, and an online "slide show" featuring the program's Ron Daniels. The larger legislation in which the DC funding ban could get repealed is expected to move quickly, with markups scheduled for Serrano's subcommittee tomorrow and the Appropriations Committee of which it is a part next week -- you never know how quickly something will really move in Congress, but that's how it looks right now. Stay tuned.
Location: 
United States

Alone in a City’s AIDS Battle, Hoping for Backup

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States
Publication/Source: 
The New York Times
URL: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/29/washington/29district.html

NAMA Press Release: Leaders of NAMA’s Swedish Affiliate Svenska Brukarforeningen (SBF) Report to Police for Handing Out Clean Needles

National Alliance of Methadone Advocates For Immediate Release: May 17, 2007 Contact Person: Joycelyn Woods, President, Tel: 212-595-NAMA, E: nama.president@Verizon.net Leaders of NAMA’s Swedish Affiliate Svenska Brukarforeningen (SBF) Report to Police for Handing Out Clean Needles On May 4 SBF’s President, Berne Stålenkrantz and the Stockhom Director, Johan Stenbäck presented themselves to the Norrmalm Police Station in Stockholm for handing out clean needles to drug users. The purpose of the action was to get an official assessment of the their crime and to bring to the public the fact that Sweden does not allow syringes to be sold in pharmacies as is done is all other countries in the European Union (EU). SBF is also considering reporting Sweden to the European Union for its failure to comply with EU rules surrounding the common market. In southern Sweden needle exchange programs have been keeping the spread of HCV nd HIV under control for the past 20 years. County and Town Councils have been allowed to establish needle exchange programmes if they so wish. However in Stockholm no such programs have been established. According to Stålenkrantz if the penalty is mild they will continue with what they are doing. However after SBF publicized that they were providing drug users with clean needles the organization suddenly found its financing from Stockholm City Council under threat. Stålenkrantz also reported that a colleague suffering from a Hepatitis C was planning to report the city's social services department to the police because he has contracted a deadly illness after being refused clean syringes. He will also state that he was a victim of SBF’s having received clean syringes from the organization.. Needle exchange programs have been used worldwide for the past twenty years and provides a way for drug users to avoid the risks of drug use as well as a way to access support services including treatment. "We are handing out syringes for purely humanitarian reasons. And we are forced to do so since society is not providing this type of healthcare," said Stålenkrantz.
Location: 
Sweden

Drugs Users Are Increasingly More Cautious With Needles

Location: 
Netherlands
Publication/Source: 
Medical News Today (UK)
URL: 
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=70884

Injected Drugs Growing Source of New HIV Infections

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Voice of America (DC)
URL: 
http://voanews.com/english/2007-05-14-voa20.cfm

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