A few weeks we reported in Drug War Chronicle that New Jersey had become the only state in the nation not allowing needle exchange programs in some form or at least syringe purchase without a prescription -- the second to last state, Delaware, passed a needle exchange law last month. The Times of New Jersey opined on the matter this morning in an opinion piece titled, "The Last One Standing." The Times writes:
After 13 years of debate without action, New Jersey is now the only state without a needle-exchange program -- a title the state should be embarrassed to hold, especially since its accompanying titles include fifth highest rate of adult HIV/AIDS cases in the nation and double the national percentage of cases caused by injection.Having observed the issue in New Jersey for most of those years -- I well remember the days when Diana McCague and New Brunswick's The Chai Project mounted their open challenge to New Jersey's needle exchange prohibition -- and being originally from New Jersey myself, I am glad to see a major paper speak up again. According to the editorial there are "only a few loud legislators who are fundamentally opposed" to two state senate bills that would legalize needle exchange and permit prescriptionless syringe sales. In my view, those "loud legislators" have committed a monstrous crime against humanity -- really -- and so did the attorney general who squelched the newer programs opened by city emergency order through the courts. Former governor Whitman was maybe the worst villain in this. Large numbers of New Jerseyans are contracting AIDS and Hepatitis C through needle sharing, are dying from those diseases and spreading them to others. The scientific evidence supporting needle exchange programs is absolutely overwhelming. Talk about moral confusion! There should be new Chai Projects, in all the cities around the state, law or now law. Then let the legislators catch up and the opponents fall behind into history's dustbin where they belong.
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