Alert: Support California Syringe Decriminalization Bill 3/26/99

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California readers are urged to contact their assemblymembers in support of AB 518. According to the HIV Advocacy Network, the bill, introduced by assemblymembers Kerry Mazzoni (D-Marin) and Kevin Shelly (D-SF), would amend California state law that prohibits distribution of syringes without a prescription in order to provide legal protection to needle exchange projects operating within certain parameters outlined in the bill. Under AB 518, needle exchange programs would be established only in jurisdictions that choose to enact them and would be designed and implemented with input from the communities in which they are established. Syringe prescription laws drive up the spread of HIV by reducing the availability of sterile syringes, thereby increasing syringe sharing among injection drug users.

Please fax your letter of support for AB 518 by March 31 to assemblywoman Kerry Mazzoni at (916) 319-2106 and to the assembly Health Committee at (916) 319-2197. Please also fax a copy to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation at (415) 487-3089, and send a copy to DRCNet at (202) 293-8344 (fax) or e-mail to [email protected].

Points for your letter:

  • Support AB 518 (Mazzoni/Shelley).
  • Needle exchange is a proven prevention tool that effectively decreases the number of HIV infections among injection drug users without increasing drug use or criminal activity.
  • Injection drug use continues to be the second leading cause of IV transmission in the state. As of December 1998, over 20,000 AIDS cases had been reported among IDUs in California.
  • Needle exchange is one of the most cost-effective interventions. The cost of a new syringe is as little as 10 cents while the lifetime cost of treating a person with AIDS is over $119,000.
  • Needle exchange programs offer an opportunity to provide prevention counseling and make referrals to medical care, drug treatment, HIV testing and other services.

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Issue #84, 3/26/99 Announcements | New Report Finds One Million Americans Incarcerated for Non-Violent Offenses | IOM Findings Strengthen Administrative Challenge to Repeal Marijuana's Prohibitive Status | Alert: Support California Syringe Decriminalization Bill | American Pharmaceutical Association Adopts Syringe Deregulation Position | Vancouver Needle Exchange Study Clarifies Previous Study's Results | Newsbriefs | Editorial: Rolling Back the Tide
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