Pubdate: Thu, 29 Jul 1999
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 1999 The Washington Post Company
Address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071


D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey and former surgeon general C. Everett
Koop have written separate letters to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert
(R-Ill.) urging the House to not prohibit the District from spending money
on a needle exchange program in the coming fiscal year.

"Having worked on the HIV/AIDS epidemic since its emergence in the U.S., I
am now writing to express my strong belief that local programs of clean
needle exchange can be an effective means of preventing the spread of the
disease without increasing the use of illicit drugs," the Koop letter says.

Congress last year banned city spending on a needle exchange program it had
funded for two years, forcing its closure. A private, nonprofit group has
since started up to offer clean needles without any government funds, but
Ramsey and Koop urged Congress not to reinstate the ban.

The House Appropriations Committee last week eliminated the ban from the
District's fiscal 2000 budget bill, but the full House will be asked today
to consider adding it back.

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