Every day, lives are lost and ruined because of the war on drugs. Annette is living proof. In her 20s, she fell in love and got engaged to a wonderful man. Deeper into their relationship, Annette was hospitalized and found out that she contracted HIV. She was monogamous and didn’t use drugs so she was completely shocked. Unknown to her, her fiancé had injected heroin in his past and contracted HIV because he didn’t have access to sterile syringes. She stood by her fiancé and they fought until he died. One of the most heartbreaking things is that all of it could have been prevented!
Syringe access programs are proven to prevent illness and death, by providing sterile syringes to people who inject drugs and minimizing the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C. These programs also benefit people like Annette, who don’t use drugs but could still be protected from disease and death. But even though syringe access programs save lives, federal funding for them is banned by Congress because of the misguided war on drugs!
Annette is now 51 years old and fighting for change because she knows that if it can happen to her, it can happen to anyone. If there had been syringe access programs, her fiancé would be alive today and Annette would have never contracted HIV.
Help us ensure this tragedy doesn’t happen to anyone else. Add your name: tell Congress to save lives and prevent disease by lifting the ban on syringe access funding.
In December 2011, language was included in the final appropriations conference bill stating that no federal funds could be used for syringe access programs (SAPs). I urge you to ask Appropriations Committee Chairs Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Rep. Hal Rogers, and Labor HHS Subcommittee Chairs Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Jack Kingston to remove this language from future appropriations bills.
Syringe access programs have been proven to prevent illness and death, by providing sterile syringes to people who inject drugs, thus minimizing the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C through shared equipment. These programs also benefit people who don’t use drugs by protecting them from disease and death. Syringe access is widely supported by medical and public health organizations such as the American Medical Association and the National Academy of Sciences. Studies have also shown that for every dollar spent on SAPs, an estimated $3-$7 are saved in HIV and other treatment costs.
Lifting the federal ban on syringe access funding would save lives, save money, and does not entail the spending of additional federal dollars. As your constituent, I urge you to take action, and support this initiative.