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Obama No Longer Supports Needle Exchange Programs That Reduce AIDS

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On the campaign trail, Obama made clear statements in support of needle exchange as a proven means of reducing transmission of AIDS and other diseases among drug users. Once in office, the President reiterated his commitment to ending the federal blockade against these life-saving programs:

The President also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users.

That language appeared on the President's own website, until it was ominously removed a couple weeks ago. Today, the President's Budget (pg. 795) formally announces Obama's decision to continue the federal needle exchange ban:

"Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, no funds appropriated in this Act shall be used to carry out any program of distributing sterile needles or syringes for the hypodermic injection of any illegal drug."

With that one sentence, Obama blatantly violates an important campaign promise and chooses politics over science with thousands of lives on the line. It's just disgraceful, and if he thought no one would notice, he was wrong.  

This isn't a matter of Obama not understanding the issue. He's already said that needle exchange would "dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users," so it should be unnecessary to further debate that point or dig any deeper into the towering mountain of evidence surrounding the efficacy of needle exchange programs.

Apparently, the President simply isn't willing to spend political capital saving the lives of drug users. If this is all about politics, and I believe it is, then the question that must be asked is why the hell the President thinks needle exchange is a political liability. When Jim Ramstad's name was circulating as potential nominee for drug czar, his opposition to needle exchange was a big factor in sinking his candidacy. Moreover, the newly appointed drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, is known for supporting needle exchange during his tenure as Seattle Police Chief. Maybe Obama should talk to his new drug czar before resurrecting the Bush Administration's failed and fatal policy of opposing harm reduction.

There is simply no serious or credible opposition to implementing proven life-saving programs in the fight against AIDS. Obama's previous statements in support of such programs provoked zero backlash on the campaign trail and obviously didn’t prevent him from becoming President. All he had to do was leave this stupid language out of the budget -- like he said he would -- and no one would even have noticed.

Instead, we're forced to come to terms with the reality that our President is willing to sacrifice human lives based on an ill-conceived perception of political convenience and nothing more.

Please contact the White House to demand that Obama keep his promise to support needle exchange and save lives.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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From my reading of the

From my reading of the language it appears to say that no funds from the budget will be spent on needle exchange, not that Obama will continue the federal ban of the same. If he lifts the ban doesn't that allow private or state/local exchanges to provide the service legally, just without federal funding? Maybe I'm mixed up here.


That already happens, Anonymous. State/local can do whatever they want - and the US has a huge network of NEPs funded this way.

Thanks for clearing that up

Thanks for clearing that up for me.

Budget Appropriations

Committee and Health and Welfare Committee are where this would be reversed.

Congress can fix anything Obama does if we pressure them.

Obama is a lying a-hole. Always has been and always will be.

For someone who has never

been in the military Obama certainly knows and executes with great precision 'about face'.

Obama/Biden are lying drug warrior Democrat thugs. Authoritarians who will say whatever they have to say to get elected and then do what ever they want to do to impose their intolerant egomaniacal ignorance on society.

They prefer 'promoting the general welfare' with dictates...

They prefer 'promoting the general welfare' with dictates, proclamations, and mandates.

This is of course unconstituional. But, since when do the D & R's care about the supreme law of the land... when billions of dollars of pork is in the trough... and their respective parties and super-heroes demand loyalty... not legality!

I'm pro-choice on everything including forcefully removing criminals from gov't!

We knew when Obama choose the major drug war whore Biden as his running mate that drug reform was going to be a political not legal battle.

Biden, and his ilk, belong in prison... not in politics or a place of prominence like the VP's office.


Everything Obama has done is political. Name one campaign promise he's actually lived up to. Change my ass.

Constitutional Law Professor Obama respecting states rights?

Q. Constitutional Law Professor Obama respecting states rights?
A. It was the reason Holder gave for stopping, verbally anyway, the DEA from conducting illegal raids on compassion clubs in the states where it's citizens voted to license them.

This libertarian doesn't support federal funding of needle exchange anymore than I support federal disability to people that voluntarily fried their own brains on coke or something. Tough, it was your personal choice... be a reponsible adult and live with your decision(s). If people pull their heads out of their asses... their habits may follow; or was it 'free your mind and your ass will follow'?

We should reject such 'burn-out bail-out' theories for fiscal reasons not because this atheist doesn't have compassion. Hell, 1 atheist usually has more compassion, not to mention common-sense, then a hundred self-professed christians could ever muster... on their best sunday!

Constitutional Law Professor Obama appears to be moving this issue in the proper lawful manner... towards the state rights issue... the constitution says it is. It's something the individuals of each state are supposed to decide for themselves... that's what being a Republic means.

The biggest question remains whether or not citizens will get, or seek, all the truth... if it means getting an opposing viewpoint; or will special interests, exclusivity, exceptionism, and the resulting political dictates and mandates that always follow, be the measure of our democracy?

On 'prayer day' obama again got it right and got bashed, by republicans mainly, for not wearing his religion on his sleeve as previous administrations frequently did... despite the seperation clause. Again siding on the side of individuals by emphasing what too many christians have long forgotten. Religion, faith, and worship, especially in pluralistic america, best serves us when left to the individual... not groups of individuals insisting their path is the righteous path... to gods grace... and a 1 way ticket to their utopian theory!

"Democracy is the worst form of government... except for all the others" George Washington

Isn't in time we ended the duomockery of democracy handed down to us by the d & r's and demand a return to lawful laws?

Democrats, not being very strong on the republic thing, usually favor federal laws over states rights! Constitutional law professor Obama appears to be breaking with that democratic strategy and tactic... atleast with respect to marijuana... and possibly gay rights!

So given your "theory",

So given your "theory", neither do you support medicare/disability benefits for people with lung cancer, emphysema, diabetes, heart problems (heart attacks, high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc) and so on...I suppose you could also go so far as war veterans too "because they chose to join the army", and to be safe, let's also include victims of car/sports accidents since "they chose to drive the car/ski/play football, etc."..."it was their own damn fault". Riiight. So I hope what are you telling me, is that later in life, if you happen to get brain cancer from talking on your cell phone too much, or have a heart attack from eating your ass off...that you will go ahead and reject your medicare/social security benefits. (I'm guessing not, so I'm just going to go ahead and call you a hypocrite right here and now). You see the Canadian court got it right last week when it ruled that the government could not outright deny disability/healthcare benefits to addicts simply on the basis of "not liking the particular disability that the person is affected by". If the person is disabled by medical standards, i.e. there are doctors and medical evidence to support disability, than the person should be considered eligible for benefits, regardless of whether or not YOU think the disability is "their own damn fault".

I tend to be Libertarian on social issues too, but you can't treat people differently and discriminate against then just because YOU don't like the way they look, the disease they have, or who they f--k. And by the way, me thinks you don't understand much about addiction, what it's like to be an addict, and the amount of discrimination addicts face (especially by people like yourself) given that you seem to like to judge people based on a set of personal choices. Also, many scientists and studies have shown that a large portion of addiction is also genetic.

But, considering what you said, don't go calling 911 or expecting the hospital to treat you next time you get really fact, don't even bother showing up to see a doctor, just sit quietly and die without complaining, because more than likely, it's your own damn fault, everything can be prevented on one level or another.

You're not listening... and miss the major point... again!

I said I DO NOTsupport federal funding to people that "voluntarily fried their own brains on coke or something"... not all federal funding." How you translated that simple statement to I do not supporting all federal funding is confusing.

My major point was... YOUR PERSONAL IRRESPONSIBILITY SHOULD NOT BE SUBSUDIZED WITH MY FEDERAL TAX DOLLARS. If you want to 'voluntarily' fry your brain.... you have that right and should do it on your own dime... not mine! There are more important things to do with our short supply of money then supporting drug addicts.

So, your theory is treat everyone the same...because it doesn't matter whether the gunshot was self inflicted or not.
Sounds like your hospital needs some triage training otherwise you risk losing both patients.

I'm aware of the exceptionism you refer to... it's everwhere, another dangerous biproduct of our christian nation and the exceptionism that always follows. How else do christians explain 'the drug & alcohol' fallacy instead of the correct statement "drugs especially alcohol"?

Exceptionism will always exist because getting buzzed on alcohol is not the same as getting high on marijuana... thanks to 'christian' america.

On a personal note my medical savings plan belongs to me and if america stopped subsidizing EVERYTHING... including peoples personal drug addictions... you might be able to afford 1 too and then we wouldn't have to care what others thought.. and our rights would be honored.

Smokin' since '75 doesn't understand addiction...

Your right, my 35 years of smoking marijuana, losing a dozen or so friends to coke during the 80's, and voluntering at a rehab center for 10+ years has obviously taught me nothing about human behavior and drug addiction.

I understand this... if you subsidize something... they will come... and abuse it.

I understand this... if you give a drug addict money... they'll buy more drugs... doesn't matter whether it's alcohol, blow, smack, or crack!

I understand this... drug addicts will consume as much as they can.... then demand more... as if it's their right... to use my $40,000 in taxes... for their own irresponsible drug habits!

Politicians are politicians... let's not forget that

He has definitely stirred things up, but seeing a backflip like this hopefully should remind everyone that politicians are politicians after all. You can please some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time. Let's just hope that he doesn't backflip on other areas.

That's politics for ya

I am afraid about the levels of repercussions this will have in the not too distant future. Going against something like this and not following your word is something everyone should have some concern about. But then again, let us not forget, it is politics after all...



"given that you seem to like to judge people based on a set of personal choices."

Men are defined by their actions.

No need to fight...

We all want the same thing here. That's what we need to remember.

The lies Obama cultivates

Angry Obama The Pothead Is Not How They Remember Him On Hawaii

Obama has spent years cultivating the lie that he was a typical discontented and disaffected young black American. A persona that helped get him elected president by encouraging progressive/liberal/left-wing Americans, who understand where such genuine disaffection originates, that they could believe that Obama would actually do something to address the root causes of the disaffection.

Obama lied and now more people will die in the drug war over-crowded prisons of America.

President Obama's Drug War militarization and escalation manifesto

Will this be a growing trend?

I just hope things like this won't continue to happen during this term. I must say though, I am kind of curious to learn more about this issue, as it doesn't seem like something that will fade away anytime soon. Anyone know of any places where I can learn more about this? Thanks.


And so it is..

Power. Is this what it's all about ? The sad but true answer to this questions is once again yes. We hear it time and time again. We think we become imune.But then after some time, we believe again. We think that something new is around the corner. And only after the fog goes away, we find ourselves in front of the same lie.To bad bad..

Administration Responds on Needle/Syringe Exchange

The San Francisco Chronicle cites a response and more details on the status of needle exchange from the Obama Administration:

The White House issued a statement Friday by Jeffrey Crowley, director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, saying Obama "is looking forward to working with Congress and the American people to build support for this change, and his administration is committed to moving forward to address the federal ban on syringe exchange programs as a part of a national HIV/AIDS strategy.

No different from what

they said originally. They support change but will not be a part of initiating change.

They talk about building a national consensus but then they do not establish a position for a debate that would lead to a consensus.

As usual they are talking out of both sides of their mouths. Trying to have it both ways without doing anything themselves.

'About face' Obama is twisting himself in circles.

I have dozens of letters from elected politicians that say the same thing. They understand and as soon as -someone else- proposes legislation they will seriously consider my position on the issue. Bull$h!t!

Politicicans and more

I dont know how many times I have seen Obama hate. Gosh what do you people think he does just sit by and just answer your problems. This country is in a big mess and you think he is going to just say YES, MMJ is legal now. He isn't nor is the next one. Gosh the man has been in office for less than 4 months. I want MMJ as much as the next person but I know relity its not going to happen that easy.

It's people like RON RICHARDS from Missouri who you should be worried about. He being the speaker of the house and its his responsiblity to get House Bills into a committee which he wont.

I dont want Obama to hand out free needles to junkies. If they want to shoot up let them pay the tab.. Do you think they pay the tab for my much needed medication?? NO, they dont.

Compassionate much?

This is about more than just medical marijuana, this is about freedom, and just as much about the health of the nation and reducing blood borne diseases which those addicts pass on to their significant others and casual dates. You need to stop being so bigoted.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

Your ignorance must make you very blissful

Increased healthcare costs, caused when indigent addicts contract deadly diseases, are borne by us all. It is simply stupid to ignore this.

And then there are the moral costs of treating Americans who have a genetic based disease as if they are criminals and lowlife.

Americans continuing to go to prison for drug use as Obama sits comfortably on his ass in the Oval Office is an atrocity. A seat, by the way, he achieved by misrepresenting his reform perspective and getting a lot of drug policy reform advocates to support him under false pretenses.

Your perspective of addiction is heartless and inhumane. Your defense of Obama is insulting.

It's not just the 4 months

[email protected],Vancouver,B.C.Canada It's what the bastards done during that 4 months.He appointed one of the wall street insiders to watch the wall street insiders.He allows the DEA to continue it's raids and has seen the first conviction.States rights didn't even come into the picture.He re energized the drug war with 200 billion dollars that Bush of all people had drained from the police who had been committing all kinds of bogus drug raids with to punch up their arrest records to allow them to access said funds.That program is now back in full swing.He deletes positions from his web site almost weekly.Any progressive policy statements you will probably find already deleted.If not,give him a few weeks.His cabinet is business as usual,his direction has gone hard right and the right hates him ,probably because they don't know how similar they are.If he hadn't campaigned on change you can believe in,no one would care but he turns out to be just another two faced politician with nothing in the way of change allowed to come anywhere near him.The Hollywood lefties don't care because they have everything that the rest of us struggle for already.If he wanted to be a drug warrior that's his right but when you pretend to be something else,your just a fucking hypocrite.By the time we got a needle exchange program here in Vancouver,more than half the addicts had aids already.If it wasn't for aids,that would never have happened.Most addicts have hepC here.This is what happens when morality trumps science.Some people think it's a self inflicted wound and therefore should be ignored.Some people are self involved and without compassion.If a person chooses addiction,you can bet they were broken long before the initial injection.People are all different.Some break really easily,some can't be hurt at all.It doesn't make the hard cases better,nor does it make the weak ones any less worthy of compassion.The most expensive way to deal with addiction is to do exactly what we are doing now.Some people would just rather pay 65,ooo to torture a person than pay 1/6 as much to actually help that same person.But they rave on and think they actually have a point of view.

Right-wing self-loathing

today is looking in a mirror and seeing Barack Obama.

as the song goes...

welcome to the machine.

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