Harm Reduction: DC Quick to Move After Congress Lifts Needle Exchange Funding Ban

Officials from the District of Columbia announced Wednesday that the District government will invest $650,000 in needle exchange programs. The move comes less than two weeks after Congress passed an appropriations bill relaxing a decade-old ban on the District using even its money to fund such programs.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/preventionworksatwork.jpg
PreventionWorks at work (screen shot from recent nytimes.com '''slide show,'' June '07)
Mayor Adrian Fenty and several city council members made the announcement at a press conference at the headquarters of PreventionWorks!, a DC needle exchange program that had heretofore existed on only private funding. Now, it will get $300,000 in city funds. Public funding for needle exchange would help reduce the number of new HIV infections in the city, they said.

"This program goes to best practices to combat one of our greatest health problems," Fenty said at the news conference. Given the high prevalence of HIV in the District, "everyone should be concerned," he said. "HIV and AIDS are such well-known public health problems in the District of Columbia that people understand we have to have programs and services in the neighborhoods," the mayor said.

The rest of the $650,000 will go to fund additional needle exchange programs throughout the city, he said.

It is money well spent, said DC Councilmember David Catania (I-At Large), chairman of the Committee on Health. "The cost of infection is immeasurably higher in terms of dollars and lives," he said.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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NEEDLES TO ADDICTS

REMEMBER THE NEW JERSEY BEACHES?

GET OUT YOUR COMBAT BOOTS!

EVERY AREA WHERE ADDICTS ARE GIVEN FREE NEEDLES EXPERIENCES HIGHER CRIME RATES,
DISCARDED NEEDLES BY THE THOUSANDS,
AND, INCREASING #'S OF ADDICTS.

No, you lose

Look at the system set up in Switzerland. 60% reduction in crime by heroin users and 2/3 of the users on the program hold jobs and pay taxes. The reality is that legalization, gov't regulation and production is what's needed, not merely needle exchange.

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