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Please help change federal funding ban on syringe exchange programs:

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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-12-07 06:37 PM
Original message
Please help change federal funding ban on syringe exchange programs:
email from:
Hilary McQuie
Western Director
Harm Reduction Coalition



Everyone knows, and the evidence backs it up, that syringe exchange
programs work. Nonetheless, Congress has banned the use of federal funds to support
syringe exchange programs for nearly twenty years.

People in California have the power to help change this because of Senator
Dianne Feinstein. As an "appropriator," Senator Feinstein is in a position
to influence the annual funding bill that includes the ban on syringe
exchange programs, which will be decided during the next week or two.

Please take a critical step to reverse this decades-old unjust policy and
demand access to resources for our community.Take one minute to call
Senator Feinstein at (202) 224-3841 and leave a message like this:

"I'm calling because I want the federal government investing in the most
effective HIV and Hepatitis C prevention tools available. That's why I'm
asking the Senator to support lifting the federal funding ban on syringe
exchange programs. Would the Senator be willing to inform Senator Harkin of
his/her desire to see the federal ban language removed from the Health
Appropriations bill?"


<snip>

Congress has banned use of federal funds for syringe distribution since
1988. The federal funding ban has starved syringe exchange programs of
necessary resources to grow and sustain their programs. As a result, there
are 8,000 to 10,000 new HIV infections each year among people who inject
drugs, thousands more new HIV infections among their sex partners, and at
least 10,000 to 15,000 new hepatitis C infections annually among people who
inject drugs. The federal funding ban has also had a chilling effect on
community and political support for syringe exchange at the state and local
level, and kept syringe exchange programs marginalized from other health,
social services, and substance abuse treatment providers.

Congress maintains the federal ban through annual Appropriations (spending)
bills, specifically the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education
appropriations bill. Since 1998, these bills include language specifying
that:

"Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, no funds appropriated in
this Act shall be used to carry out any program of distributing sterile
needles or syringes for the hypodermic injection of any illegal drug."
Section 505 of Public Law 109-149 (Departments of Labor, Health and Human
Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006)

<snip>

Hilary McQuie
Western Director
Harm Reduction Coalition
1440 Broadway, Suite 510
Oakland, CA 94612
Tel: 510-444-6969
Fax: 510-444-6977
http://www.harmreduction.org
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