Newsbrief: New Jersey Needle Exchange Battle Continues 7/2/04

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

There was action on two fronts last week in the battle to bring needle exchange programs (NEPs) to New Jersey, one of only five states that makes possession of a needle without a prescription a crime and, along with neighboring Delaware, one of only two that has failed to pass laws explicitly allowing syringe distribution under some circumstances. The Garden State boasts the nation's fifth-highest rate of HIV infection, with more than half of new infections related to injection drug use.

This spring, thanks in part to a big push from Roseanne Scotti, the Drug Policy Alliance's (http://www.drugpolicy.org) New Jersey point-person, two municipalities, Atlantic City and Camden, began moving to enact municipally-operated NEPs to counter what health officials in both cities have referred to as an AIDS crisis (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/342/ordinance.shtml).

Citing Scotti's legal analysis of a 1999 revision of state law, which concluded that municipalities were exempt from the prohibitions on NEPs, the city council in Atlantic City passed a NEP ordinance on June 16. The Camden city council followed suit on June 24.

Camden Waterfront
Both councils acted despite opinions from local prosecutors and state Attorney General Peter Harvey that NEPs remain illegal in New Jersey. While Harvey's office has so far done nothing more than warn ominously that the votes are "under review," Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey Blitz this week filed a lawsuit in state Superior Court to block Atlantic City's NEP.

According to Blitz's reading, New Jersey's paraphernalia law forbids the distribution of needles without a prescription, pure and simple. "The law would not permit (the prosecutor) to turn a blind eye to violations of... narcotics paraphernalia offenses which the needle exchange program would generate," Blitz said in court papers.

Atlantic City Solicitor Daniel Gallagher disagreed. "It's going to come down to how the judge interprets the statutes," Gallagher told the Press of Atlantic City. "We believe the statutes can be interpreted to allow municipalities to do this."

Scotti told the Press DPA is putting together a legal team to represent the city if it chooses to fight, and there is every indication it will. Health and Human Services Director Ron Cash, who pushed for the city to approve a NEP, was grateful for the offer of assistance. "We can use all the legal help we can get, particularly people who have dealt with this before," he said.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #344, 7/2/04 Editorial: Under Its Own Weight | Supreme Court Ruling Portends Massive Changes in Federal Sentencing -- Thousands Could Benefit from Reduced Sentences, Early Releases on Appeal | Federal Judge Declares Sentencing Guidelines Unconstitutional | Supreme Court to Hear Federal Government Appeal in California Medical Marijuana Case | International Anti-Drugs Day Marked by Executions in China, "Revolutionary Justice" in India, Silly Stuff Elsewhere | DRCNet Book Review: "Can't Find My Way Home: America in the Great Stoned Age, 1945-2000" by Martin Torgoff (Simon & Schuster, 2004, 474 Pages, Notes/Bibliography/Index, $27.95) | Newsbrief: Bill Introduced in Congress Would Mandate Ten Years to Life for Some Marijuana Sales | Newsbrief: New Jersey Needle Exchange Battle Continues | Newsbrief: Iran Wants to Ban Water Pipes | Newsbrief: European Drug Agency Punctures "Not Your Father's Marijuana" Myth | Newsbrief: North Carolina Supreme Court Settles Dispute, Declares Cocaine Possession Is a Felony | Media Scan: Ethan Nadelmann in National Review | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar
Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]