Amendment To Ban Federal Funding for Needle-Exchange Programs ‘Bad Idea,’ Editorial Says
Amending the Runaway, Homeless and Missing Children Protection Act (HR 1925) to include a provision that would permanently ban federal funds from going to needle-exchange programs is "a bad idea that won't discourage drug use and perpetuates a federal policy that puts thousands of young people at risk for AIDS," according to a Detroit Free Press editorial. The bill, which has been approved by a House committee, would authorize $105 million for street outreach, health and shelter programs, the editorial says. The amendment is sponsored by Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.), who says that needle-exchange programs "encourage addiction," according to the Free Press. The editorial says that she is "flat-out wrong," adding that needle-exchange programs "don't give drug users additional means to shoot up; they swap dirty needles for sterile ones on a one-to-one basis." According to the editorial, "Needle-exchange workers aren't condoning drug use." The editorial concludes that the House could "show some real courage and leadership -- and save lives, too -- by stripping Musgrave's amendment from the bill and renewing the debate on federal funding for needle-exchange programs" (Detroit Free Press, 6/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.