Wednesday, November 01, 2006


The New Jersey Senate comittee finally passed a bill allowing for the legal operation of syringe exchange programs in the state. Great progress, now it just has to get voted off off the Senate floor to become a reality.

While most New Jersey residents understand the science supporting the programs, the Family Policy Council still persists with invalid and uniformed protests, reported the Cherry Hill Courier Post ("Needle exchange bill moves forward," Oct. 20).

Won Kyu Rim of the New Jersey Family Policy Council said that although he and the supporters of the bill shared the goal of stopping the spread of the disease, their solutions differed.

"We should be going with the programs that are proven to work, not a pilot program where the results are ambiguous," said Rim. "The best way to use the state's money is to allocate it toward established treatment programs, not to mush them all together."

The most interesting thing about Rim's comments is that NEP's are proven to work, with results that are easy to interpret: reduced blood born disease, reduced needle litter on the street and no increase in drug use. They also tend to pull addicts into treatment pretty regularly. In fact, the only reason NEP's are even being proposed in the form of pilot programs is to combat the irrational fear of increased drug use that folks like the Family Council have created.

New Jersey has the fifth highest HIV rate in the nation, and nearly 50 percent of those infections were caused from used of infected needles. Seventy percent of newborns infected with HIV get it because their parents had used shared needles. Sounds to me like pilot program or not, New Jersey needs clean needles.

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