Needle Exchange Volunteer Arrested in New Jersey: Letters are needed! 2/20/98

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Johanna Malaret, a volunteer for the CHAI Project, a needle exchange program in New Brunswick, NJ, was arrested this Wednesday (2/18) in Perth Amboy for possession and possession with intent to distribute syringes. Perth Amboy police stopped Malaret on Hall Street during a regularly-scheduled walking route. They confiscated 63 syringes.

This is the second time in the past 22 months that a representative of the Chai Project has been arrested. Last April, project director Diana McCague was arrested in New Brunswick for possession and convicted. Her appeal is still pending. The Centers for Disease Control estimated last year that over 13,000 New Jersey residents either have injection-related AIDS or have died from it. New Jersey, where Governor Christine Whitman has steadfastly declined to change the law outlawing syringe exchange despite its endorsement by such groups as the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association, and the advice of her own AIDS Council, ranks third in the nation in the incidence of injection-related infection.

Chai Project Director Diana McCague told The Week Online, "The arrest is an outrage. It leaves people in Perth Amboy with no choice but to re-use and share syringes. Why is it that the police and the government of this state feel that the best way to help addicted citizens is to sentence them to death? Dead addicts don't recover, and the law does not justify base immorality. What about the partners and children of New Jersey's injection drug users? It is under the current laws that tens of thousands of New Jersey residents have become injection drug users, and we slavishly enforce these same laws to keep good people from trying to limit the damage. They call this 'drug control'. Well, we are certainly not controlling drugs, but we are systematically destroying the lives of enormous numbers of our most vulnerable citizens, which leaves one to wonder exactly what this system is really set up to do."

YOU CAN HELP! DRCNet asks that concerned readers send letters to the editors of the following papers (contact info provided) expressing your disapproval of both the arrest and the anti-syringe exchange laws of New Jersey.

***Please don't forget to include your name, address and phone number with your letter. Also, don't forget to sign the letter you are submitting. Address all mailed letters to: Letter to the Editor, followed by the address, to ensure it is received quickly.

The Star-Ledger
1 Star-Ledger Plaza
Newark, NJ 07102-1200
[email protected]
(973) 877-4040 (fax)
(Submit to "Speaking Up", 500 words or less)

The Courier-News
P.O. Box 6600
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
[email protected]
(908) 707-3128 (phone)
(908) 707-3252 (fax)
(Don't exceed 250 words)

The Trenton Times
500 Perry St.
P.O. Box 847
Trenton, NJ 08605
[email protected]
(609) 989-5500 (phone)
(609) 394-2819 (fax)
(Don't exceed 300 words)

Asbury Park
Press Your Views
3601 Highway 66
P.O. Box 1550
Neptune, NJ 07754-1551
[email protected]
(732) 922-6000 (phone)
(732) 922-4818 (fax)
(No word limit)

City News
P.O. Box 1774
Plainfield, NJ 07060
[email protected]
(908) 754-3400 (phone)
(908) 753-1036
(No word limit)

The New York Times
229 West 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036-3959
[email protected]
(212) 556-1234 ext. 1873 (phone)
(212) 556-3622 (fax)
(No word limit)

Jersey Journal
Attn: Bob Larkins
30 Journal Square
Jersey City, NJ 07306
(201) 653-1000 (phone)
(201) 653-1414 (fax)
(No word limit)

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Issue #30, 2/20/98 Medical Marijuana Support Fund Established | Gingrich Calls Clinton's New Drug Strategy "The Definition of Failure," Pledges GOP Legislative Package | World Health Organization Suppresses Report Finding Marijuana Safer than Alcohol and Tobacco | Needle Exchange Volunteer Arrested in New Jersey: Letters are needed! | Protesting Penn State Professor Julian Heicklen, Four Others to be Charged -- High School Student Suspended for Three Days Without Hearing | Ex-Michigan Gov: Drug Lifer Law Inhumane | Medical Marijuana Activists to Open Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Across Eastern Canada | Interview with Canadian Medical Marijuana Activist Peter Young | Classmates of UK Home Secretary Straw's Son Hand Him Petition for Legalization of Cannabis | Job Opportunity: Drug Policy Foundation seeks Public Policy Director | Editorial: Bill, Newt, and the coming battle over the war
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