‘Swift Action Driven by Courage Needed’ To Remove Ban on Federal Funding for Needle-Exchange Programs, Letter to Editor Says
"The Obama administration's budget dealt a serious blow to those who support syringe exchange programs to prevent the transmission of HIV, hepatitis C and other infectious diseases," Paola Barahona, senior global health policy analyst for Physicians for Human Rights and founding executive director of Prevention Works!, writes in a Washington Post letter to the editor. She adds, "On the campaign trail, during the transition and in the White House, President Obama has expressed support for removing the federal ban prohibiting the use of federal funds for these programs. But he kept the ban in his budget despite research clearly showing that such programs work."
Barahona writes, "Addressing the personal and pubic dangers of injection drug use may not have wide political support, but doing so is an important health and human rights issue with serious public health ramifications." She adds, "As supports of disease prevention policy rooted in science rather than politics or ideology, we have waited too long for 'change' that makes sense." Barahona concludes, "We have a bold and courageous leader in President Obama. Swift action driven by courage is needed now to remove this anachronistic ban" (Barahona, Washington Post, 5/17).