Needle exchange leaders cheer relaxed federal funding ban
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Advocates are praising Congress’ recent softening of a longtime ban on federal dollars going to needle exchanges amid growing intravenous drug abuse that’s spreading hepatitis and HIV in many states.
The new rules were in a spending bill President Barack Obama signed last month.
Federal money still can’t be used to buy clean needles, but can be used for other program costs in communities deemed “at risk” for significant increases in hepatitis C or an HIV outbreak.
The change was backed by several Republicans who previously opposed federal funding.
Spokeswoman Danielle Smoot for Republican U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky says Rogers spearheaded the change because action was needed to address growing hepatitis C outbreaks in his state and others.
Rogers heads the House Appropriations Committee.