Hey there, what’s that sound, everybody look what’s going down…in the presentation of U.S. global drug policy. Since President Obama’s election, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has been making noises about a shift in approach and priorities towards addressing drugs and drug problems — as opposed to its previous “War on Drugs” approach, which criminalized what is primarily a public health issue. Last month’s 53rd Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) meeting was a marker on how the US would present this much-ballyhooed new face to the international community.
Yesterday the Senate passed and sent to President Obama for signing a year-end funding bill for federal agencies that removes restrictions on funding for needle exchange programs and allows the District of Columbia to use its own funds to assist low-income women seeking abortions, among other changes.
Last Friday, Congressman David Obey (D-WI), took the first — and courageous — step to end the 20-year ban on federal funding of needle exchange. But opponents are gearing up to reinstate the ban and prevention advocates need to mobilize now.
President Obama has repeatedly expressed his support for lifting the ban on federal funding of needle exchange programs. So why it is still in his 2010 budget?
Rep. Jose Serrano has introduced a bill to lift the federal ban on funding for syringe exchange to prevent the spread of HIV and other infections among injection drug users. Passing this bill quickly could save untold numbers of lives.