Needle Exchange in the USA
August 16, 2009 1:37 PM Subscribe
posted by circle_b (42 comments total)
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of needle exchanges in the United States
starts in 1986
with Jon Parker
, a dyslexic Yale medical student and former IDU (intravenous drug user), who was arrested
time and time again for providing sterile needles and supplies to drug users, to prevent infection and spread of disease.
David Purchase started the first organized (and illegal
) needle exchange in Tacoma Washington in 1988, which still exists
21 years later.
Needle Exchanges fit into a harm reduction model
of public health policy and drug treatment. Harm reduction approaches are being embraced by religious groups
as a moral imperative, and are even recommended for jail administrators
, showing that this evidence-based practice
is gaining traction.
Despite scientific evidence
[pdf] effectiveness, there has been no federal funding for clean needle exchanges because of this text, in every House Appropriations funding act for the fiscal year, for the last 20 years:
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.
One of President Obama's campaign promises
has been to remove this text from the apropriations bill: however, the initial 2010 bill maintained the original language preventing needle exchanges from receiving federal funding
. This language was then repealed
, allowing federal money
to go to needle exchange and disease prevention programs for the first time in 20 years. Days later, a highly restrictive amendment was added to the House Appropriations bill, which may jeopardize funding
in urban areas, particularly the DC metro area. This amendment prohibits funding of needle exchanges in any area within 1,000 feet of almost any location where children gather.