Harm Reduction: ACLU Wins Victory in Connecticut Needle Exchange Case 6/2/06

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!


http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/438/ctneps.shtml

Injection drug users in Connecticut can breathe a bit easier this week. In a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union Drug Law Reform Project, a federal judge has ruled that protections she previously granted to people possessing needles should be expanded to include other injecting equipment as well.

In 2001, acting on complaints of harassment and persecution by drug users and needle exchange workers in Bridgeport and citing the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable search and seizure, the ACLU won an order blocking the Bridgeport Police Department "from searching, stopping, arresting, punishing or penalizing... any person based solely upon that person's possession of up to thirty sets of injection equipment."

But as she prepared to hand down her latest ruling Thursday, US District Court Judge Janet Hall complained that "my order may well have been written in invisible ink." On Thursday, she chastised the Bridgeport police for failing to diligently follow her earlier order, but rejected an ACLU motion to find the department in contempt. She did, however, expand the protection in the earlier order to include injection equipment such as cotton balls and items used to cook drugs.

"The message of this much-needed ruling should be heard nationwide," said Adam Wolf, an attorney with the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project. "Public health should be placed above punitive posturing. Law enforcement should be chiefly concerned with the public welfare, which is markedly increased by respecting the rights of needle exchange participants and acknowledging the vital importance of these exchanges to public safety."

The Bridgeport Syringe Exchange, in operation for more than a dozen years now, is one of around 200 such programs in the country. Every scientific study of needle exchanges has found that they are an effective way of reducing the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C.

"The police can contribute to public health and safety by supporting efforts that engage injection drug users in disease prevention programs that simultaneously serve as conduits to treatment for addiction," said Robert Heimer, PhD, a professor at Yale School of Public Health and a nationally renowned expert on the emergence and prevention of infectious diseases. "In the long run, this is the only reliable means to decrease addiction at the community level."

-- 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 #438 -- 6/2/06

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

Editorial: We Should Have Such Problems | Book Offer: Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went up in Smoke | Feature: Salvia Under Siege -- Movement to Ban Herbal Hallucinogen Gains Momentum in Statehouses | Feature: SSDP, ACLU Seek Permanent Injunction in HEA Lawsuit, Education Department Moves to Dismiss | Feature: Drug Reformers Take the Third Party Path in Bids for Statewide Office | Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle? | Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Law Enforcement: Federal Drug Prosecutions Declined for Past Five Years | Medical Marijuana: South Dakota Initiative Makes the November Ballot | Harm Reduction: ACLU Wins Victory in Connecticut Needle Exchange Case | Latin America: Mexican Leftist Candidate Calls for More Army in Drug War | Latin America: US Drug War Ally Reelected in Colombia, But Leftist Legalization Advocate Places Second | Latin America: As Venezuela and Bolivia Draw Nearer, Chavez Ponies Up $1 Million for Coca Factories, Research | Europe: Dutch Mayor to Move Coffee Shops to Belgian Border | Web Scan: New Change the Climate Online TV Ad, Journey for Justice Daily Journal, Psychedelics and Medicine, Convict Nation | Weekly: This Week in History | Weekly: 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]