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Friday, June 22, 2007

Needle exchange programs start without Plainfield



The needle exchange program long sought by urban communities which bear the brunt of HIV and AIDS cases is finally getting under way -- at least in some of the communities designated for the pilot program.

Newark, Paterson, Atlantic City and Camden have all passed the required enabling ordinance and their proposed projects are being reviewed for final approval by the state.

The lifesaving program will begin without two other formerly expected participants -- Trenton and Plainfield.

Trenton officials withdrew the city's application earlier this week.

Mayor Doug Palmer is quoted by the Times of Trenton as saying

"This is an issue that I really want to see how it's managed in other cities," Palmer said yesterday. "I want to see how other cities are faring, what were some of the obstacles and use that information to have a better program."
At least Palmer is willing to go on the record.

In Plainfield, the situation is utterly different.

Not only did Plainfield's representative fail to show at the mandatory 'bidder's conference' in Trenton in May, to which the City was preregistered, but Mayor Robinson-Briggs has not made any public comment on why she is not supporting Plainfield's participation.

With about 500 residents with HIV or full-blown AIDS according to the US Census, Plainfield ranks among the top ten communities in New Jersey for infections.

There has been no public evidence that either the community or the Council would oppose the introduction of this lifesaving program, so the Mayor's silence on the topic is mystifying to those who work in the health care and social services field.
"When politics trumps science, people die."
--Robert Sharpe, policy analyst,
Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, DC




More --

-- Dan Damon

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1 comments:

Peter Vietze, Ph.D., 17 year Plainfield resident. said...

I was distressed to read about Plainfield's lack of participation in the newly implemented needle exchange program in New Jersey. I was even more distressed to read that the mayor had nothing to say and that there were no representatives from Plainfield at the MANDATORY Bidders' conference. The evidence is clear that needle exchange programs prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. Why is Plainfield, a town that has a high rate of HIV and AIDS, so out of it? What am I getting for my tax money?