New Jersey Legislature’s Approval of Measure That Would Establish Needle-Exchange Programs in Six Cities ‘Significant Public Health Victory,’ Editorial Says
The approval by the New Jersey Legislature of a measure that would establish needle-exchange programs in six cities in an effort to curb the spread of HIV in the state is a "significant public health victory," a Bergen Record editorial says (Bergen Record, 12/13). The New Jersey Assembly and Senate on Monday voted 49-27 and 23-16, respectively, to approve a measure (S 494) that would establish needle-exchange programs in six cities and provide $10 million to drug treatment programs in the state. According to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, 14% of new HIV/AIDS cases in the state in 2005 were attributed to injection drug use. Needle-exchange programs in the U.S. are not federally funded and are opposed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/12). "Lives will be saved as a result" of the Legislature's approval, the editorial says, adding, "It has taken more than a decade since a needle-exchange program was first proposed to get to this point." According to the Record, "years of research have allayed concerns" that needle-exchange programs "lead to increased drug use" or HIV cases. Needle-exchange programs "help to stop the spread" of HIV through injection drug use, "which means lower infection rates for the partners of addicts and their children," the editorial says, concluding that the effects of the measure "will be felt in the netherworld of drug addiction" (Bergen Record, 12/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.