D.C. Needle Exchange Program Could Lose Funding

By Danielle Johnson
|  Sunday, Aug 2, 2009  |  Updated 11:00 PM EDT
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D.C. Needle Exchange Program Could Lose Funding

D.C.'s needle exchange program could lose local and federal funding.

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The District’s controversial needle exchange program could be stuck without money soon.

Congress could consider an amendment that would ban the use of both local and federal tax dollars to hand out clean needles to drug addicts.

Until 2007, the District was the only city in the nation barred from using both local and federal money.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is fighting to keep the program alive, feared without funding, the district’s high rate of HIV infection could get worse.

The amendment specifically would prohibit the District from providing money to any needle exchange program that operates within 1,000 feet of virtually any location where children gather.

The amendment's sponsor, Republican Congressman Jack Kingston of Georgia, said kids shouldn't have to watch people exchanging needles for illegal drug use.

Supporters of the program hope the Senate fails to include a similar amendment in its version of the bill and that it will be killed in conference committee.

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