President's Advisory Council on AIDS Issues Tough Report: Sets Deadline for Lifting Ban on Needle Exchange Funding 12/12/97

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Administration on Needle Exchange, Sets Deadline for Action

President Clinton's National Advisory Council on AIDS released a report at its December meeting which criticized the administration for its second-term handling of the AIDS epidemic. The report paid special attention to the failure of the administration to lift the ban on the funding of needle exchange programs, saying that Clinton had "failed to exhibit the courage and political will needed to pursue public health strategies that are politically difficult but that have been shown to save lives."

Many on the Council had been considering resigning in protest unless the ban was lifted by December 1. (http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1997/10-11-1.html#interview) Dr. R. Scott Hitt, who chairs the 30-member council, told reporters, however, that the council's anger was assuaged somewhat by the administration's successful efforts to keep Congress from usurping the executive branch's authority in this area. He added that the council was waiting to see if that authority would finally be used.

Moments before going to press, The Week Online has learned that the Advisory Council has presented President Clinton with a letter "strongly recommending" that action be taken, lifting the ban by January 27, 1998 (scheduled date of the State Of The Union Address). The letter, signed by Dr. Hitt on behalf of the Council, urges that the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, make the necessary determination that needle exchange availability reduces the spread of HIV/AIDS without increasing drug use, and implores the President to commence meetings with affected groups and exchange professionals to establish guidelines for the use of federal AIDS dollars for such programs.

Next week's issue will feature in-depth discussion from a member of the Council on both the current situation and the history of the Council's dealings with the administration. And of course, The Week Online will keep you informed as the situation progresses. For more information about efforts to lift the ban on such funding, visit the web site of the National Coalition to Save Lives Now, at http://www.safeworks.org/savelivesnow/.

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Issue #22, 12/12/97 Point and Click for Drug Policy Reform: Innovative web site lets you raise money for DRCNet | The Week Online Welcomes Tim Devlin: Veteran Canadian journalist and broadcaster adds his voice to the international beat | Canadian Court Declares Medical Marijuana Prohibition Unconstitutional | President's Advisory Council on AIDS Issues Tough Report: Sets Deadline for Lifting Ban on Needle Exchange Funding | American Medical Association: "Let Doctors, Patients Discuss Medical Marijuana" | Denver City Council Approves Needle Exchange... but state must act first to change law | George Soros Signs on to Indepent on Sunday's Cannabis Campaign... On the eve of an historic conference on the issue | Key West Medical Marijuana Club Founder Freed | Poll: Americans consider drug abuse "greatest threat facing kids | 022/france French Minister of Health Calls Medical Marijuana Legalization Obvious""" | Australian Mayors: Enforcement "Will Not Work:" A call to the national government to change strategy | Columbian President Press Secretary and a Reporter Kidnapped by Cartels: American Prohibition continues to undermine order | Link of the Week: Cast your vote and state your case in National Review's on-line medical marijuana survey | Editorial: The drums of reform are getting louder
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