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Press Release

Speak Out Against the Syringe Funding Ban!

May 12, 2009

Dear CHAMPsters,

This is a critical time for all of us to be speaking out to lift the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange. Last week President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2010 budget request. This budget still includes the language that bans the use of federal funding for syringe exchange programs.

This means your calls and letters are more critical than ever, and we still can lift the ban this year!

In the next couple of weeks, the 2010 Labor, Health and Education Appropriations Bill will be written. This is where the actual federal ban language currently exists. We have shown support for lifting the ban in this bill by getting co-sponsors onto HR 179, the Community AIDS & Hepatitis Act. And we've gotten promises on votes from those who have not signed on but would support removing the ban in the Appropriations process.

Our response now is critical!

Congress needs to hear from us that:

  1. We support H.R. 179, the Community AIDS and Hepatitis Prevention Act of 2009 and we want them to become co-sponsors.
  2. We want the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies to remove the ban in the 2010 Appropriations Bill.

Step 1: Call your Representative.

Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak to your Representative. When calling the switchboard, you may give your zip code if you do not know the names of your members of Congress.

When someone answers the phone, tell them:

  • My name is [NAME], and I live in [CITY, STATE]. Thanks for taking my call.
  • I'm calling to encourage Representative [REPRESENTATIVE'S NAME] to cosponsor H.R. 179, the Community AIDS and Hepatitis Prevention Act of 2009.
  • [pick one of the talking points below to make your call personal]
  • (Give or leave your phone number if you would like a call back.)
  • Thank you.

You can also send a letter to your Representative here. (To see list of cosponsors, click here.) If your Representative is a co-sponsor, thank them for their support of HR 179!

Step 2: Call for the Labor, Health and Education Appropriations Bill.

Call Rep. David Obey (WI) 202-225-3365, Chair of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

  • My name is [NAME], and I live in [CITY, STATE]. Thanks for taking my call.
  • I'm calling to encourage Rep. David Obey to take leadership to remove the federal ban on syringe exchange funding in the 2010 Appropriations Bill.
  • [pick one of the talking points below to make your call personal]
  • (Give or leave your phone number if you would like a call back.)
  • Thank you.

Talking Points:

  • Each year, approximately 8,000 Americans contract HIV/AIDS and approximately 12,000 Americans contract the hepatitis C virus directly or indirectly from sharing contaminated syringes.
  • Making clean, sterile syringes available is a simple, cost-effective method of saving lives and providing care to hard-to-reach populations.
  • But since 1988, there has been a Congressional ban on the use of federal funds for Syringe Exchange Programs nationwide. Last year, Congress lifted the ban that forbid Washington DC from using its local tax dollars to support syringe exchange in the city itself -- now we need the ban lifted on federal funding for the whole nation.

After you make your calls, please forward this to everyone who is ready to see the 20-year ban lifted!



  
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This article was provided by Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project.
 
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Reader Comments:

Comment by: John (Sydney, Austrailia ) Thu., Jul. 2, 2009 at 8:59 am EDT
When will science triumph and christian fundamentalist policies like the NSE funding ban end??
For God's sake pepole are getting infected every day throught IDU. Please stop this madness!
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Comment by: Nilda Rodriguez (Berkeley, Ca) Sun., Jun. 21, 2009 at 11:34 pm EDT
We need needle exchange. The thought of going back to the way it was is scary.Having needle exchange has been proven that drug use does not increase drug use. Please,please do not end the funding for needle exchange.
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Comment by: Gerry Scoppettuolo (Boston, Ma) Tue., May. 19, 2009 at 9:46 pm EDT
The Obama ban on funding needle exchange continues the Clinton-era practice of selling out scientifically-proven and successful HIV prevention interventions to the far right. The economic and political system in the U.S. has never adequately dealt with HIV because of the stigmatized populations who disproportionately suffer from the disease and because of the need to preserve the profits of the pharmaceutical companies. Our government is - to paraphrase Marx - the executive secretary of the ruling capitalist class. The continuation of capitalism will perpetutate the worsening of the epidemic. We now have roughly one fourth of the resources we had 10 years ago to fight the epidemic when we account inflation and increasing prevalence. Fewer prevention programs to prevent new infections and fewer case managers and supportd for those living with HIV/AIDS.

Only a system driven by the priority pf meetng human needs can guarantee adequare resources, that system would be socialistic. Anything else is actually what is unrealistic and not the other way around. Marginal and reforist demands for crumbs only reinforce the legitimacy of a corrupt and venal system.

In ACT-UP in the 80's we said "silence = death"....let's get real, "capitalism=death".
We end it now or it ends us later.

www.workers.org
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Comment by: Daniel Bocanegra (Laredo, Tx) Wed., May. 13, 2009 at 5:35 pm EDT
Thank You for your support to have the 20-yr. ban on federal funding for needle exchange programs to be lifted. It is long overdue. One of the biggest reasons that I voted for Obama was because of his promise for CHANGE! This poor excuse that other administrations have used in the past that lingers on the notion that needle exchange programs only promote more drug use is not only UNTRUE but it no longer works.Facts are that NEPs not only help stop the spread of Hepatitus C and HIV but also make addicts become responsible for getting clean needles and that behavior change can and does sometimes lead to them getting or seeking treatment.Shouldn't stopping the spread of HEP C and HIV/AIDS be priority over what the personal feelings and/or views of anyone or Society as whole have against addicts or addiction? Can ANYONE in this Administration provide an answer based on FACTS and NOT on the usual rhetoric,wording or lame excuses of the Past?
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