Pubdate: Sat, 14 Dec 2002
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2002 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Robert Sharpe


The Massachusetts supreme judicial court did the right thing by ruling 
that  people who receive clean syringes through a state-sanctioned needle 
exchange  program in one community cannot be arrested for carrying them in 

Needle-exchange programs have been proven to reduce the spread of HIV 
without increasing drug use.  They also serve as bridge to drug treatment 
for a hard-to-reach population.  Drug users are not the only 
beneficiaries.  Centers for Disease Control researchers estimate that 57 
percent of AIDS cases among women and 36 percent of overall AIDS cases in 
the United States 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 America's tough-on-drugs 
politicians acknowledge the drug war's tremendous collateral damage sooner 
rather than later.

Robert Sharpe

Program Officer Drug Policy Alliance Washington
- ---
MAP posted-by: Alex