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Harm Reduction: New Jersey Needle Exchange, Needle Access Bills Advance

A bill that would allow up to six New Jersey municipalities to set up needle exchange programs and a companion bill that would permit the sale without prescription of up to 10 syringes at pharmacies passed the Assembly Health and Senior Citzens Committee Thursday. After more than a decade of efforts to win legislation that would allow drug users easier access to clean needles, it now appears the bills have momentum.

New Jersey politicians have begun lining up behind the bills. Before testimony at the committee Thursday, Chairman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington) said bluntly, "This bill is going to pass." Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts and Gov. Jon Corzine have stated publicly they intended to legalize syringe exchange as soon as possible.

During testimony, state epidemiologist Eddy Bresnitz told lawmakers they needed to act now. "We should not be delaying another minute in putting life-saving tools such as syringe exchange programs in the hands of communities desperate to stop the transmission of blood-borne diseases, such as HIV and AIDS," he said. "Syringe exchange programs not only prevent the transmission of blood-borne diseases but also help drug addicts get into treatment.''

The Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey office has been lobbying for the bills for several years now. "We're incredibly grateful for such a resounding vote of support on the part of the committee members," DPA's Roseanne Scotti told the Associated Press after the vote.

N.J. moves to end ban on over-the-counter syringes (USA Today)

United States

Methamphetamine Conference Abstract and Scholarship Deadlines Approaching

2nd National Conference on Methamphetamine, HIV and Hepatitis: Science & Response 2007 February 1-3, 2007, Salt Lake Hilton City Center visit Our call for abstracts ends on September 15th Our request for scholarship applications ends on October 1st Our Growing List of Speakers Mayor Rocky Anderson - Salt Lake City County Commissioner Jenny Wilson - Salt Lake County Dr. Patricia Case, Sc.D - Fenway Steven Shoptaw, PhD - Matrix Institute Kathy Reback, PhD - Matrix Institute Jean Obert - Matrix Institute Steven Jennison, MD - New Mexico Department of Health Honorable Judge Janet Berry - Reno, NV Rick Curtis - Chair of Anthropology Department, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, NYC Kristen Reis, MD - Univ. Of Utah School of Medicine Mark Hammer, MPH - Coordinator of Special Populations, NYC Dept. of Health Caitlin Padgett - Crystal Clear Peer Support, Vancouver, CA Alex H. Kral, PhD - University of San Francisco, Dept. of Family and Community Medicine Ryan S. King - The Sentencing Project (Author of The Next Big Thing? Meth in the U.S.) Ethan Nadelmann, JD, PhD - Drug Policy Alliance Steve Tiereny ­ San Francisco AIDS Foundation Susan Sherman, PhD - Johns-Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore Alan Clear - Harm Reduction Coalition Rick Curtis - Chair of Anthropology Department, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, NYC Vicki Sickels, LMSW, CADC, Office of Research, Iowa Health, Des Moines Peter Morse, PhD ­ The DOPE Project Neil Flynn, MD - University of California, Davis Michael Seiver, PhD - The Stonewall Project Jennifer Vornbrock - Manager, Vancouver Coastal Health Yves-Michel Fontaine, M. A., Ed .M. - The Addiction Institute of New York Deborah Small, JD - Break The Chains Lynn Paltrow, JD - National Advocates for Pregnant Women Prosecutor Sim Gill - Salt Lake City Corrine Carrey, JD - Break The Chains Pamela Lichty, President, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii Heather Lusk - Hepatitis C Coordinator, Hawaii Department of Health Bill Piper - Drug Policy Alliance Don McVinney, MSSW, M.Phil., ACSW, LMSW, CASAC, HRTI Director, New York Melanie Wallentine - Utah Department of Health Jason Farrell - Positive Health Project, New York City Our Growing List of Conference Sponsors amFar Physicians Research Network National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors The American Academy of HIV Medicine Association of Nurses in AIDS Care The National Latina Health Network The National Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco National Hepatitis C Network The New York City Department of Public Health and Mental Hygiene The City of Madison, WI The City of Fayetteville, NC The City of Salt Lake City, UT The City of Boise, ID The County of Hawaii Family Justice Housing Works California Hepatitis C Network Hepatitis C Connection Mountain Plains AIDS Education and Training Center The Crystal Meth Working Group Utah AIDS Foundation Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Continuing Education Credits Will Be Available For Physicians Nurses Social Workers Psychologists Substance Abuse Counselors 2nd National Conference on Methamphetamine, HIV and Hepatitis ~ 801.355.0234 Denver ~ Salt Lake City ~ Washington, DC
Salt Lake City, UT
United States

Health Board Okays Needle Exchange

Pittsburgh, PA
United States
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Harm Reduction: Global Harm Reductionists Issue Urgent Declaration Calling for Action on Drug Use and HIV

Representatives of 19 international and regional harm reduction organizations meeting in Toronto this week have issued a declaration calling for immediate action to address the spread of HIV through injection drug use. Known as the Declaration of Unity, the statement demands that governments and international anti-drug organizations stop impeding the adoption of harm reduction measures proven to reduce the spread of disease, such as needle exchanges and safe injection sites.

The groups urged governments to:

  • provide adequate coverage and low threshold access, including in correctional settings, to sterile injection equipment, condoms, methadone and buprenorphine as essential components of comprehensive HIV prevention and care;
  • ensure that drug users and all marginalized populations have equitable access to quality HIV prevention, medical care, and highly active antiretroviral treatment, that concrete country-level and global targets be established, and that progress be monitored;
  • provide meaningful involvement of drug users at all levels of planning and policy, and financial support for their organizations; and
  • put an end to disenfranchisement and human rights violations of drug users including mass imprisonment, punitive and degrading drug treatment programs, and the widespread use of withdrawal as a form of coercion.

Noting that UNAIDS cannot effectively slow the spread of HIV when forces within the UN system are creating obstacles to effective harm reduction measures, the groups demanded that:

  • the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, as the UN agency tasked with leadership on HIV prevention among drug users, ensure that effective community protection against HIV is not ignored in the name of drug control and law enforcement;
  • the International Narcotics Control Board, as the body charged with responsibility for monitoring implementation of the drug treaties, publicly and unambiguously endorse and promote harm reduction as an approach consistent with those treaties and monitor global delivery of substitution treatment and HIV prevention measures for drug users;
  • the international community and all major UN bodies involved in drugs and HIV approach drug use as a health and social matter which also requires some law enforcement interventions rather than being primarily a matter of criminal justice.

The harm reductionists from around the globe were in Toronto for the International AIDS 2006 conference. "HIV is being spread increasingly -- in some parts of the world, chiefly-through the sharing of injecting equipment, said Dr. Diane Riley, who signed the declaration on behalf of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy and the Youth Network for Harm Reduction International. "Considerable evidence exists that harm reduction strategies such as needle exchange programs can effectively, safely and cheaply reduce the spread of HIV; yet very few such programs are in place. Governments are in effect spreading infection through their own drug control and enforcement policies which encourage use of non-sterile equipment, and marginalization and incarceration of users," Riley added in a press release announcing the declaration.

"The United States, the world's most important donor of international aid, restricts implementation of harm reduction strategies," Riley charged. "Political and social commitment, including commitment of the necessary resources, and an end to the US administration's embargo on harm reduction are needed now," Riley said. "If we fail to do this, further catastrophe is inevitable and the global economy will simply not be able to cope with the resultant burden."

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