Congress Lifts Federal Ban On Needle Exchange Programs
The Minnesota Independent: "An appropriations bill passed by Congress last weekend is being hailed by public health advocates for ending funding for abstinence-until-marriage sex education and eliminating the ban on federal funding for needle exchange programs" (Birkey, 12/17).
NPR/Maine Public Broadcasting Network: "For years, needle exchange programs in three dozen states have provided clean needles to intravenous drug users as a way to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. But the programs have relied solely on state and local funding because of a longtime ban at the federal level. For years, some regarded needle exchange as an incentive for drug addicts to continue to use."
"Around the country, the rate of needle exchange continues to increase. According to the North American Syringe Exchange Network, more than 30 million clean needles were distributed last year. Even in a rural state like Maine, the numbers are up. ... The end of the federal ban on funding does not guarantee additional money for needle exchange programs, but AIDS activists say it's a symbolic achievement that will, at the very least, reinforce an old message that clean needles save lives" (Sharon, 12/18).