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Federal Funding Ban FINALLY LIFTED for Syringe Exchange!

After 21 years, federal funding can finally be used to support syringe exchange. This was a long-fought and hard won battle, and the deepest gratitude goes out to all who have continued to do the work no matter what!

Here are photos from a Syringe Access Victory Celebration & Awards Cermony on May 19, World Hepatitis Day.

The following links are a few articles of note on the policy change.

NY Times: Righting a Wrong, Much Too Late

Public health advocates held an understandably muted celebration when President Obama signed a bill repealing a 21-year-old ban on federal financing for programs that supply clean needles to drug addicts. The bill brought an end to a long and bitter struggle between the public health establishment — which knew from the beginning that the ban would cost lives — and ideologues in Congress who had closed their eyes to studies showing that making clean needles available to addicts slowed the rate of infection from H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, without increasing drug use.

The Nation: Swapping Politics for Science on Drug Policy

Policy wonks and deficit hawks weren't the only ones paying attention when President Obama signed the Fiscal Year 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act last week. HIV activists, public health experts and communities of drug users celebrated--not for what's in the appropriations bill, but for what's not in it: a ban on federal funding for needle exchange programs, which has appeared in the federal budget every year since 1988.

Housing Works: In Wake Of Syringe Ban Victory, CDC, Goosby Contemplate Future Funding

“We see this as a moment where Congress has legitimized syringe exchange.That debate has been resolved and the science is all on our side. Congress has taken syringe exchange out of politics,” said Daniel Raymond, Harm Reduction Coalition’s policy director. “[But] in the short term, the immediate payoff will be modest and incremental.”

Miami Examiner: Congress lifts federal funding ban for needle exchange

“It humanizes the issue rather than criminalizing the behavior,” said South Florida AIDS activist Michael Rajner. “There are a lot of people who take great strides to making sure that people are getting clean needles.”