Newsbrief: Needle Exchange in Springfield and Atlanta 9/7/01

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The Springfield Union-News in Springfield, Massachusetts,reported on 8/31 that City Councilor Timothy Rooke is seeking to place a non-binding referendum on needle exchange programs on the November 6 ballot. Rooke is not trying to help injection drug users, though -- he opposes them, and wants the questions worded: "Do you want hypodermic needles handed out in your neighborhood to drug addicts to help slow the spread of AIDS?"

A spokesperson for the Springfield Harm Reduction Coalition, Elizabeth Simon, criticized Rooke's wording, saying "This clearly is meant to arouse the fears -- 'Oh, there will be drug addicts running around and they might be dangerous.'"

In Atlanta, meanwhile, the publication Creative Loafing reported 8/29 on the long-term progress made by the Atlanta Harm Reduction Center in becoming an accepted part of the community's public health infrastructure. Formed in 1994 as a subcommittee of ACT UP Atlanta, AHRC has only one paid staffer, Program Director Mona Bennett, and struggles to find money to pay for the syringes it gives away but received funding for other purposes from entities such as the Atlanta AIDS Partnership Fund.

In a sign of how times change, Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell -- who declared during the American Cities Against Drugs conference in 1995 that "there would never be needle exchange in Atlanta" -- coincidentally the very week that AHRC distributed its first syringes -- Mayor Campbell recently said it was time to applaud grassroots groups that operate needle exchange and condom distribution programs, according to Creative Loafing. Campbell, however, is leaving office at the end of the year, and neither of the leading candidates have made their views on needle exchange programs known.

The summer issue of Yale Medicine includes a review of the beginnings of needle exchange programs in New Haven a decade ago, and the research there that proved the programs' effectiveness for reducing the spread of disease. Read the article at:
http://info.med.yale.edu/external/pubs/ym_su01/needle/needle1.html

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Issue #202, 9/7/01 Editorial: How Soon We Forget | Michigan Drug Warriors Drive Marijuana Activists to the Brink, Then Gun Them Down: Standoff Ends With Two Dead at Rainbow Farm | Federal Prosecutors Running Scared in 9th Circuit, Ask Court to Reverse Buckland Finding on Mandatory Minimums and Post-Conviction Sentence Enhancements | Annals of Prop. 36:00:00 Orange County Court Extends Provisions to Paraphernalia Offenses, Alameda DAs Fight to Keep Drug Offenders in Jail Pending Conviction | Veterans Group Passes Anti-Drug War Resolution | Cannabis Cafes in London? Brixton Discusses Amsterdam-Style Coffee Houses | Narco News Gains Congressional Ally in "Drug War on Trial" Lawsuit | Colombian President Calls for Global Summit to Evaluate Anti-Drug Policies | Newsbrief: Needle Exchange in Springfield and Atlanta | Witness for Peace Delegation to Take on Drug War | Net Scan: Alan Bock, Jamaica Commission | T-shirts for Victory! Special Offer and Appeal from DRCNet This Month | Action Alerts: Ecstasy Bill, HEA, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana, John Walters | HEA Campaign Still Seeking Student Victim Cases -- New York Metropolitan Area Especially Urgent | The Reformer's Calendar
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