Syringe Access

Increasing sterile syringe access through syringe exchange programs and non-prescription pharmacy sales is essential to reducing syringe sharing among injection drug users and decreasing rates of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C transmission.  Syringe exchange programs have also been shown to increase the safe disposal of used syringes, protecting police officers and the public from accidental exposure to blood-borne diseases.  Despite the benefits of these life-saving programs, legal and bureaucratic barriers still prevent injection drug users from accessing clean syringes. The Drug Policy Alliance has led efforts to increase syringe access in several states and is playing a key role in repealing the federal syringe funding ban.  We continue to push for reforms that would greatly reduce rates of disease transmission, overdose and other risks associated with injection drug use.
 

Stigma and People Who Use Drugs

March 3, 2014

There is an extensive body of literature documenting the stigma associated with alcohol and other drug problems. No physical or psychiatric condition is more associated with social disapproval and discrimination than substance dependence. For people who use drugs, or are recovering from problematic drug use, stigma can be a barrier to a wide range of opportunities and rights.

Healthcare Not Handcuffs: Putting the Affordable Care Act to Work for Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Reform

December 12, 2013
Drug Policy Alliance, American Civil Liberties Union

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) represents a remarkable opportunity for criminal justice and drug policy reform advocates to advance efforts to enact policy changes that promote safe and healthy communities, without excessively relying on criminal justice solutions that have become so prevalent under the war on drugs, and which fall so disproportionately on low-income communities and communities of color.

Budget Agreement Opens Door to Lifting Longtime Federal Ban on Funding for Syringe Access Programs

Syringe Access Proven to Significantly Cut HIV/AIDS

More Than 70 Maryland-Based Doctors and Scientists Send Letter to Senate Appropriate Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) Urging Action

As Congress prepares to finalize the federal budget, more than 70 Maryland-based science and medical professionals released a letter today calling on Congress to lift the ban on federal funding for syringe access programs. The letter urges Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to use her position as Senate Appropriations Chair to lift the ban, noting that “there are few occasions when members of the medical community can unite and advocate for a public health program that costs nothing, saves taxpayer dollars, and saves lives.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Michael Collins 404-539-6437

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to Sign Two Life-saving Public Health Bills Today at 2:15 p.m.

SB 13-208 Decriminalizes Possession of Syringes for Participants of Syringe Access Programs; SB 13-14 Expands Access to Life Saving Overdose Antidote Naloxone

Treatment Providers, Public Health Advocates, and Families Who Have Lost Loved Ones to Overdose Voice Support

DENVER — Today, Gov. John Hickenlooper will sign into law two life-saving public health bills. The signing will take place at 2:15 p.m. in the Governor’s Office at the State Capitol. Several family members who lost loved ones to an overdose, as well as public health organizations and advocates will attend the signing ceremony.

Contact: Art Way 720-288-6924 or Tony Newman  646-335-5384

Life-saving Public Health Bills Approved by Colorado Legislature; Await Gov. Hickenlooper’s Signature

SB 13-208 Ensures Participants of Syringe Access Programs are not Criminalized for Possessing Syringes; SB 13-14 Expands Access to Life Saving Drug Naloxone

Treatment Providers, Public Health Advocates and Families Who Have Lost Loved Ones to Overdose Voice Support

DENVER — This week, the Colorado House followed the Senate’s lead and approved SB-208, which allows participants in syringe access programs in Colorado to possess needles, as long as they are not pre-loaded. 

Contact: Art Way 720-288-6924 or Tommy McDonald 510-229-5215  

Congress must restore federal funding for needle exchange

In 2009, Congress passed legislation reversing the decades-old ban on the use of federal funding for syringe exchange but, for unclear reasons, in late 2011, it reversed this decision, again withholding federal funding from programs that provide drug users with sterile needles and syringes. This month, Congress approved the health spending budget for the rest of this fiscal year without lifting the ban. This lack of action worsens public health problems, makes our communities less safe, and increases future financial burdens on taxpayers.
 

Sterile Syringe Access

February 19, 2014

Increasing sterile syringe access through syringe exchange programs and non-prescription pharmacy sales is essential to reducing syringe sharing among injection drug users and decreasing rates of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C transmission. Despite the benefits of these life-saving programs, legal and bureaucratic barriers still prevent people who inject drugs from accessing clean syringes.

The Cost of a Slow Learning Curve

February 19, 2014

The U.S. refuses to adopt an evidence-based HIV/AIDS prevention strategy, costing us hundreds of thousands of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars. However, in countries where addiction is treated as a health issue, the fight against HIV/AIDS is being won. Newly diagnosed HIV infections in many countries have been nearly eliminated among people who use drugs, just as mother-to-child transmission of HIV has been eliminated in countries that make medicines for pregnant women accessible.

The Drug War: Fueling the HIV/AIDS Pandemic

February 19, 2014

The global war on drugs is severely jeopardizing the fight against AIDS. Criminalizing drug use drives the HIV pandemic not just among people who use drugs – but also among their families and communities.

Six Former Presidents, Richard Branson and Other World Leaders: Criminalization of Drug Use Fuels the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic

Landmark Report Released in Advance of  2012 World AIDS Conference in Washington, DC

Global Commission Calls for Drug Decriminalization and Expansion of Proven, Cost-Effective Solutions to Reduce HIV/AIDS – Including Sterile Syringe Access, Safer Injection Facilities, and Prescription Heroin Programs

While Some Countries Have Virtually Eliminated Drug-Related HIV Transmissions, Drug War Policies in U.S., Russia, Thailand and China Cause Millions of Needless Infections and AIDS Deaths

Today, the Global Commission on Drug Policy will release a groundbreaking report at a press conference in London followed by a worldwide teleconference. The report condemns the drug war as a failure and recommends immediate, major reforms of the global drug prohibition regime to halt the spread of HIV infection and other drug war harms.

The report is being released in advance of the International AIDS Conference, the world’s largest gathering of HIV/AIDS experts. It will be held in the U. S. for the first time in 22 years this July 22-27, in Washington DC.

Tony Newman 646-335-5384

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