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Thanks to Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia, a rider just added to D.C.’s District’s 2010 federal appropriation bill will effectively trash all clean needle exchange programs in this city. According to the Examiner:

an amendment recently offered by Republican Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia, and accepted by the Democrat-led Appropriations Committee, bars the District from distributing clean needles or syringes to drug addicts within 1,000 feet “of a public or private day care center, elementary school, vocational school, secondary school, college, junior college, or university, or any public swimming pool, park, playground, video arcade, or youth center, or an event sponsored by any such entity.”

Can anyone think of a space in D.C. that’s not within 1,000 feet of any of these things?

I’m glad to see that Congress doesn’t want to completely eliminate needle exchanges in the city with the highest HIV rate in the country—-it just wants to push clean needles to the one obscure spot in D.C. that’s football fields away from any public or private . . . anything. The Examiner reports that The House Rules Committee has already “nixed nine proposed D.C.-related amendments offered by Republican members involving guns, gay marriage, abortion and marijuana.” Clean needles didn’t make the cuts cut.

Local needle-exchange provider Dr. Phil Terry notes that Kingston’s fear of needles may, ironically, bring the clean needles closer to his workplace: “There’s virtually no area in D.C. that would meet those restrictions, except maybe Capitol Hill,” Terry said.

DCist says it all: “Considering the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the District of Columbia, we think it’s fair to label this latest maneuver in the House as absolutely despicable.”

Photo by Todd Huffman