Wednesday, December 28, 2011

NAMA-Recovery Demands Rescinding of Ban on Use of Federal Funds for Syringe Exchange

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director,
Roxanne Baker, President,
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA

The National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery (NAMA-Recovery) demands an immediate reversal of the ban on use of federal funds for syringe exchange imposed in the omnibus spending bill. The FY 2012 omnibus, passed by both houses of Congress in December, reinstates a complete ban on use of federal funding for syringe exchange programs. This reversal of federal policy represents a huge step backward in the fight to eliminate hepatitis C and other blood-borne viruses, despite numerous studies demonstrating that access to sterile syringes reduces the incidence of HIV and viral hepatitis and is good public health policy benefiting communities across our nation.

Access to sterile syringes has been proven a cost effective and life saving measure. Syringe exchange programs also connect people who use drugs to constant and repeated contact with substance use treatment and medical care. For the two years since the lifting of the original ban, syringe exchange programs around the country have worked closely with local law enforcement and health officials to make syringe access a part of their communities’ HIV and viral hepatitis prevention strategies to great effect. This setback will result in nothing less than an avalanche of new infections and dramatic increases in medical costs at a time of great financial strain for individuals and governments.

NAMA-Recovery Executive Director Joycelyn Woods said “In this times when the cost of medical care is rising it is prudent and good public health policy to provide access to sterile syringes. Even more important are the lives including families and children that will be affected by these medieval attitudes.” Woods continued, “NAMA-Recovery will continue our support for syringe exchange and strategies needed to prevent a new infections among the next generation of injection drug users. We implore Congress and the Administration to reverse this policy.”

The National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery is an organization of patients, healthcare professionals, friends, and associates working together for greater public understanding and acceptance of the use of medication assisted treatment in the recovery from opioid addiction. NAMA-Recovery, founded in 1988, has Chapters throughout the United States and International Affiliates in 19 countries across the globe.

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