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Needle Exchange

NEWS
January 8, 2008
The omnibus spending bill recently passed by Congress contained at least one piece of good news for Washington: A longtime restriction on using local funds for needle exchange programs was lifted. Removing the restriction was overdue because the district has one of the nation's highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection, and distributing clean needles to drug users could help slow the spread. Regrettably, a nationwide ban on using federal funds for needle exchange programs remains in place. Congress should follow its sensible action on D.C. and lift the national ban as well.
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NEWS
September 3, 1993
Two centuries ago this month, Baltimore City appointed its first health officers, two "quarantining physicians" who were charged with dealing with the threat of yellow fever. Even though scientists of the day didn't yet understand that the fever was spread by a mosquito, the challenge facing those two doctors was much simpler than those facing public health officials in the city today.Nothing could better illustrate those changes than the controversy swirling around one of the health department's top priorities, a plan to institute a needle-exchange program among the city's intravenous drug abusers.
NEWS
September 21, 2005
Recent studies by researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins show a generational divide among users of the city's needle-exchange program, with older heroin addicts much more likely to use the program than younger, particularly white, addicts. While the program distributes about 6,500 clean syringes a week in exchange for dirty needles and offers HIV tests, drug treatment information and about 250 slots for methadone treatment, younger users are resistant. City Health Department officials say only 6 percent of the program's enrollees over the years have been younger than 25, and in Baltimore, heroin addicts in their teens and early 20s tend to be white, whereas blacks tend to take up hard drugs in their late 20s and 30s. Health officials are now aiming to target users under 30 through a special grant.
NEWS
August 12, 1991
The traditional battles against AIDS and drug abuse came under scathing criticism this week when the National Commission on AIDS pointed out the obvious: Dealing with these twin scourges separately is myopic. The commission found that a full third of AIDS cases in this country stem from intravenous drug use -- either through sharing of infected needles or through sexual contact with an HIV-infected drug user.The commission recommended a practical approach -- expanded drug treatment programs linked with needle-exchange programs so that everyone who wants help can get it.Therein lies the controversy.
NEWS
By From staff reports | April 11, 1998
Prince George's gets go-ahead to create needle-exchange 0) planPrince George's County won permission from the General Assembly yesterday to create a program to distribute clean needles to drug addicts.The county, which has the second-highest AIDS rate among Maryland jurisdictions, has been considering following Baltimore in setting up a needle-exchange program. Baltimore's program has been credited with significantly slowing the spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome by letting addicts trade dirty needles for clean ones.
NEWS
By John Fairhall and John Fairhall,Evening Sun Staff yNB | August 7, 1991
State and city public health officials have brushed aside a controversial recommendation by the National Commission on AIDS that drug addicts be given legal access to needles.The officials say such a drastic step might be worth studying, but should not be taken until there's greater evidence of its effectiveness in reducing AIDS virus infections.The commission said yesterday there's already evidence of the effectiveness of needle-exchange programs operating in Tacoma, Wash., and a few other cities.
NEWS
February 9, 1996
Brian Weil, 41, a photographer who captured society's marginal subjects and a founder of New York City's first needle exchange program, has died.Mr. Weil's body was found Monday at his Manhattan home, said Bruce Stepherson, a friend. An autopsy was scheduled.Mr. Weil's photographs documented topics as diverse as the lives of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn, a string of homicides in Miami and a home for retarded adults.His work is housed in collections of the Jewish Museum, the International Center of Photography and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.
NEWS
September 7, 1993
Two hundred years after the city appointed its first public health officers, Baltimore faces a health threat more complex than raw sewage in the streets and periodic outbreaks of cholera, typhoid or yellow fever. The biggest challenges for public health now lie in the political arena, as illustrated in such issues as the city's proposed needle exchange program for intravenous drug abusers.Last session in Annapolis, a bill granting the city permission to establish a pilot program failed in committee.
NEWS
April 20, 1994
Bashing Baltimore City has often been an easy way for suburban legislators to make waves, particularly in election years. However, this year they resisted that easy temptation. In a remarkable demonstration of open-mindedness and experimentation, they approved Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's request that Baltimore be allowed to see whether a needle exchange program will reduce the spread of AIDS.Baltimore City's population of 730,000 people includes an estimated 30,000 heroin addicts and 10,000 cocaine addicts.
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