Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: AIDS and Needle Exchange

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Thursday, December 01, 2005

AIDS and Needle Exchange

Happy World AIDS Day everybody. Every minute of every day 5 people die from AIDS/HIV. There is no cure but there are rather expensive drugs for treating the disease. As a result, prevention continues to be the preferred method of combating the disease.

Where do NJ AIDS statistics stand?:
In NJ nearly half of all new HIV cases in the state are related to injection drug use, nearly twice the national average, New Jersey is one of only five states that require a prescription to purchase a syringe and, along with neighboring Delaware, one of only two states that have not passed laws explicitly allowing needle exchange programs (NEPs).
CONGRATULATIONS! We are in the minority and presumably some really "red states" are included in the 45 and 48 other states that have agreed that statistics on Needle Exchange are pretty solid.

As the article suggests our hero Nia Gill has proposed legislation to allow municipalities to run their own NEP. There are actually two bills, Sen. Gill's Bill is A3256 and Senator Joe Vitale's A3257.

Interestingly enough. Both have been stalled in the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens committee chaired by none other than Sen. Joseph Vitale.

Now there is some backroom chatter that say that Sen. Ronald Rice has been the thorn in this Bill's side. Ronald Rice happens to represent Newark (which happens to be #9 in the country in AIDS cases, and if you take the population into account it is easily #1 per capita).

This is rather sickening. You have the representative of a constituency that will drastically benefit from either bill, holding up that legislation. Even worse, one of the pieces of legislation is sponsored by THE CHAIR OF THE COMMITTEE?!?! Only in the land of Superfunds could this happen.

This is plain and simply WRONG. Both bills have passed in the Assembly. One man is ruining the fate of thousands of people. Write Chairman Vitale and tell him to get the sack to stand up to Ron Rice and Sleezy Sharpe James and get both these bills out of committee and onto the Senate floor for a vote. It has passed the Assembly and deserves a Senate vote dammit.
Joseph Vitale
87 Main St.
Woodbridge, NJ 07095
PHONE:(732) 855-7441

After that call Ron Rice and give him a piece of your mind:
1044 South Orange Ave.
Newark, NJ 07106
PHONE:(973) 371-5665

As always cross posted at Blue Jersey