Needle Exchange

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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

Cities apply to start needle program

Location: 
NJ
United States
Publication/Source: 
Cherry Hill Courier Post (NJ)
URL: 
http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070513/NEWS01/705130379/1006

it isn't balance when opinion runs as fact

Location: 
Vancouver, BC
Canada
Publication/Source: 
The Vancouver Sun (Canada)
URL: 
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/columnists/story.html?id=fad6bd9a-7c00-47aa-a549-e4e0376603c7

Politicians not helping the drug crisis

Location: 
Australia
Publication/Source: 
Village Voice (Australia)
URL: 
http://www.villagevoice.com.au/article/20070502/NWS14/705020332/-1/nws/Politicians+not+helping+the+drug+crisis

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