Pubdate: Wed, 25 Jan 2006
Source: Hanover Mariner (MA)
Copyright: 2006 Hanover Mariner
Author: Robert Sharpe


Mary Smith of Concerned Citizens For Drug Prevention, Inc., misleads 
readers with her comments on needle exchange programs (Hanover 
Mariner, Jan. 18).

Needle exchange programs are supported by the Centers for Disease 
Control and Prevention, the National Academy of Sciences, the 
American Medical Association, the American Bar Association and the 
American Public Health Association. They have been proven to reduce 
the spread of HIV without increasing drug use. Needle exchange 
programs also serve as a bridge to drug treatment for an especially 
hard to reach population.

Drug users are not the only beneficiaries. U.S. Centers for Disease 
Control researchers estimate that 57 percent of AIDS cases among 
women and 36 percent of overall AIDS cases in the U.S. are linked to 
injection drug use or sex with partners who inject drugs. This easily 
preventable public health crisis is a direct result of zero tolerance 
laws that restrict access to clean syringes. In the interest of 
containing the HIV epidemic, let's hope tough-on-drugs politicians in 
Congress acknowledge the drug war's tremendous collateral damage 
sooner rather than later.

CDC stats can be verified at:

Organizations supporting syringe access: American Medical 
Association, American Public Health Association, National Academy of 
Sciences, American Bar Association:

Robert Sharpe, MPA Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy
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