N.J. Governor Should ‘Show Some Leadership’ by Supporting Bill To Allow Needle-Exchange Program, Editorial Says
New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey (D) should "show some leadership" and declare his support for legislation that would allow cities in the state to implement needle-exchange programs to help curb the spread of HIV through the sharing of needles by injection drug users, a New York Times editorial says. Injection drug use accounts for more than one-third of the reported AIDS cases in the United States, and in New Jersey, "drug-related infections are ravaging Camden, Newark, Jersey City and especially Atlantic City," where one in 40 people are estimated to be HIV-positive, according to the Times. However, New Jersey is one of five states that consider the distribution of syringes without a prescription a crime, even though needle-exchange programs "could save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives in New Jersey's drug-infested cities," the editorial says. Two state senators have drafted a bill that would allow communities to establish needle-exchange programs, according to the Times. McGreevey -- who "has not come out in support of the bill, perhaps fearing an election-year backlash from conservatives" -- "should realize that lives are at stake," the editorial concludes (New York Times, 5/29)This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.