Pubdate:  Wed, 20 Aug 1997

FRC: Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Needle Exchange Programs

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/  A poll released today by the Family
Research Council reveals most Americans  62 percent  oppose needle
exchange programs (NEPs) and 60 percent favor drug abstinence and drug
rehabilitation programs as a more effective way to stop the spread of
AIDS/HIV.  Fiftysix percent believe that federally funded exchanges
represent an official endorsement of illegal drug use, encourage more teenage
use of illegal drugs, and could lead to outright illicit drug legalization. 

The polling company, (sic) a national polling firm conducted the survey of
1,000 registered voters and found that 60 percent of Americans want their
members of Congress to stop free needle exchange programs and focus on drug

FRC President Gary L. Bauer said Wednesday that NEPs "are nothing but a
bandaid on a bullet wound.  The only way to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS
among intravenous drug users is to step up the war on drugs."  Bauer was
joined by FRC Senior Policy Advisor Robert L. Maginnis who provided detailed
analysis of the poll results. 

"Congress and the Clinton Administration would make a radical mistake to
flirt with the idea of needle exchange programs as sound and effective
policy," Bauer continued. "Some illadvised, reputable organizations have
lined up in support of NEPs, but Americans aren't so quick to jump on the
bandwagon, especially when a program might be proposed for their own

"Needle exchange programs won't stop a desperate drug addict to do anything
to fulfill his craving.  NEPs will scar urban areas, snuffing out hopes for
crime reduction and development.  Governmentsponsored NEPs will move America
down a disastrous path towards drug legalization.  With recent surveys
showing a surge in teen illicit drug use, our country can not afford to spare
more lives by sending a message endorsing drug use." 

A formidable group of antidrug leaders and activists joined FRC in speaking
out against NEPs: James Curtis, Director of the Department of Psychiatry and
Addiction Services at New York City's Harlem Hospital Center; Dr. Janet
Lapey, pathologist and Executive Director of Concerned Citizens for Drug
Prevention, Inc. in Hanover, Massachusetts; Nancy Sosman, member of New York
City's Coalition for A Better Community; and Shepherd Smith, President and
Founder of Americans for a Sound AIDS/HIV Policy (ASAP). 

SOURCE  Family Research Council   

CO:  Family Research Council 

ST:  District of Columbia 



08/20/97 09:51 EDT