New Jersey Gubernatorial Candidates, Black Ministers Council Discuss Needle-Exchange Programs
New Jersey gubernatorial candidates Sen. Jon Corzine (D) and Doug Forrester (R) on Monday met with the Black Ministers Council of New Jersey to discuss the candidates' views on certain issues, including the implementation of needle-exchange programs to fight the spread of HIV and other bloodborne diseases among injection drug users, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports. In response to questioning from the council's board of directors, Corzine said he supports needle-exchange programs, adding that such programs must be created with proper oversight. Forrester said that "good arguments" exist for the programs, but he opposes needle exchanges and instead prefers to focus on improving substance abuse programs to address the underlying causes of drug use (Linkous, AP/Long Island Newsday, 9/12). Last month, a three-judge Appellate Division panel ruled that New Jersey municipalities cannot implement needle-exchange programs because such initiatives violate state drug laws (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/17). More than half of New Jersey's 62,000 HIV/AIDS cases are attributable to injection drug use (AP/Long Island Newsday, 9/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.