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New Bill to Lift the Ban on Federal Syringe Exchange Funding

August 18, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Twenty-nine House Democrats and Republicans Ron Paul (TX) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL) are backing a new bill to permit the use of Federal funds for syringe exchange programs. Federal funding (and local funding, in the case of Washington D.C.) of needle exchange programs has been prohibited by Congress since 1988.

According to a document prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

>Syringe Exchange Programs (SEPs) have been shown to be an effective way to link some hard-to-reach Injection drug users (IDUs) with important public health services, including TB and STD screening and treatment. Through their referrals to substance abuse treatment, SEPs can help IDUs stop using drugs. Studies also show that SEPs do not encourage drug use among SEP participants or the recruitment of first-time drug users. In addition, a number of studies have shown that IDUs will use sterile syringes if they can obtain them. SEPs provide IDUs with an opportunity to use sterile syringes and share less often.

Of course, all those claims are backed up with citations to unlinkable medical journals. More information here, from Jose Serrano (D-NY), the bill’s primary sponsor.

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