This letter, written by members of communities that have been affected by heroin and prescription drug injection use, calls on Senators Barbara Mikulski and Tom Harkin, and Representatives Hal Rogers and Jack Kingston, to lift the ban on federal funding for syringe services programs (SSPs). These members of Congress hold leadership positions in the Senate and House appropriations committee, and have the opportunity to lift the ban as Congress’s appropriations process for the FY15 budget moves forward.
Syringe Services Programs are services where injecting drug users can obtain sterile needles and associated equipment (at little or no cost) to reduce the risk factors for transmission of diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis.
The letter claims that the ban on federal money for SSPs has exacerbated the heroin and prescription drug crisis and is increasing the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C. The claim is that making SSPs more available should be an essential component of a public health approach to the heroin crisis because it would connect users to drug treatment and health care, overdose prevention, and provide vital tools and education.
The Center for HIV Law and Policy is one of more than 140 signatories to this letter, including local, national, and international organizations.