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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The War On Drug Addicts - And Everyone Else

When Congressional Republicans rammed through their disastrous consolidated spending bill on Friday, subsidizing abstinence-only education and granting $2 billion per week for the war in Afghanistan, they also locked in a regressive funding cut that would endanger the lives of many thousands of Americans. The bill reinstates a ban on federal funding for needle exchange programs - a ban that was repealed just two years ago, due to overwhelming evidence that the programs dramatically curb the spread of blood-transmitted diseases like HIV and hepatitis B.

Incredibly, when the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee announced the ban's first incarnation in September, it was listed under the heading "Protecting Life." Conservatives have long framed needle exchange as an incitement to drug use (naturally, if cheap, clean syringes are readily available, hordes of previously uninterested Americans will be inspired into heroin addiction) and a "dopey idea" that deters recovery.

"I am very concerned that we would use federal tax dollars to support the drug habits of people who desperately need help," argued former Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kansas), the anti-needle-exchange warrior who rallied in favor of the ban each year until his recent retirement.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The definition of ILLEGAL is forbidden by law or statute. Why do we always have to pay for others illegal activities? We do this for the drug addicts and that for illegal aliens. I agree they should be drug tested and papers checked to make sure they are not on drugs and here legally before they get any tax payers money. It was their choice to do drugs and their choice to come here illegally. Should be my choice not to pay for them.