President-Elect Barack Obama supports lifting the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange programs - and our friends at the Harm Reduction Coalition let us know that Congressman Jose Serrano has already re-introduced HR 179, Community AIDS and Hepatitis Prevention (CAHP) Act of 2009, in the 111th Congress. HR 179, introduced Tuesday with 28 original co-sponsors, would eliminate laws which prevent federal funding from being used for syringe exchange.
The State of Texas won't be able to accept these life-saving federal funds unless the Texas legislature allows drug addicts to safely access clean needles and syringes. The legislative session, which happens once every two years in Texas, will begin next week.
What will it say about Texas if the federal government offers to pay to prevent these deadly diseases but the Texas legislature chooses to refuse the funds, more Texans become infected, and our district attorneys continue to criminally prosecute the Good Samaritans who try to save human life? We won't find ourselves in that position if our legislature shows compassion and allows clean, safe access this session.