HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html NJ Court Bars Needle Exchanges
Pubdate: Tue, 16 Aug 2005
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2005 News World Communications, Inc.
Bookmark: (Heroin)
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that Atlantic City cannot begin a 
needle-exchange program for users of heroin and other drugs.

The court agreed with a judge's ruling that a state law banning the 
possession and distribution of drug paraphernalia applies to municipalities 
as well as non-profit groups.

A number of studies have shown that exchange programs help cut the spread 
of AIDS and other diseases spread by contaminated needles. Advocates also 
argue that the exchanges, by bringing drug users in contact with the 
medical system are more likely to get help.

The appeals panel acknowledged the arguments in favor of the programs. But 
the judges said that only the Legislature has the power to change the law.

"Atlantic City is not exempt from the Code provisions ... simply because 
they adopted a needle exchange for beneficent reasons," the opinion said.

When it adopted the needle exchange program, the Atlantic City Council said 
that the city faced a public health crisis because of AIDS and that 60 
percent of AIDS infections came from the sharing of needles by drug users.
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