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March 2005
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Walters, Souder, and other U.S. Officials Push for Millions More AIDS Deaths

Yes, this goes beyond hyperbole. It’s a coordinated campaign to purposely cause the deaths of potentially millions of innocent people. Let’s take a look.
“bullet” On February 16, Mark Souder held a circus of a hearing: “Harm Reduction or Harm Maintenance: Is There Such a Thing as Safe Drug Use?” (See the report in the Drug War Chronicle.) It was a blatant attempt to put harm reduction in a negative light, including testimony by Drug War Dealers Andrea Barthwell and Peter Bensinger.
“bullet” On February 28, John Walters (according to his “blog” – no permalink, you have to scroll down to March 1) began a “five-nation visit to Europe to discuss combating so-called ‘harm reduction’ policies.”
“bullet” Today, Walters appeared at the annual session of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crimes and lied at least twice (based on this Reuters report:

  1. He said “that the majority of the international community opposed injection rooms and similar narcotics ‘appeasement’ programs.” and
  2. “He rejected the idea that opposition to such programs is ‘somehow an impediment to efforts addressing another global crisis, the spread of HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne pathogens such as Hepatitis C.'”

You see, the U.S. administration has been (since November) pushing for the U.N. to remove all references to harm reduction (including needle exchange) from its literature, and the U.N. has been rolling over and complying. (This administration loves the U.N. when it comes to international drug policy.)
The comment about “appeasement” programs (Walters’ way of attempting to tarnish needle exchange) being opposed by the international community was shown to be a lie with this letter from a group of AIDS organizations, human rights groups, scientific researchers and policy analysts from 56 countries last week.
As far as the rest of it, well we need only take a look at an attempt by the Administration to sneak lies into the Washington Post.
“bullet” Check out this editorial — Deadly Ignorance — in the Washington Post just before Walters’ trip:

THE BUSH administration is quietly extending a policy that undermines the global battle against AIDS. It is being pushed in this direction by Congress, notably by Rep. Mark Edward Souder (R-Ind.). But some administration officials zealously defend this policy error, claiming scientific evidence that doesn’t exist.

The administration’s error is to oppose the distribution of uncontaminated needles to drug addicts. A large body of scientific evidence suggests that the free provision of clean needles curbs the spread of AIDS among drug users without increasing rates of addiction. Given that addicts are at the center of many of the AIDS epidemics in Eastern Europe and Asia, ignoring this science could cost millions of lives. In Russia, as of 2004, 80 percent of all HIV cases involved drug injectors, and many of these infections occurred because addicts share contaminated needles. In Malaysia, China, Vietnam and Ukraine, drug injectors also account for more than half of all HIV cases. Once a critical mass of drug users carries the virus, the epidemic spreads via unprotected sex to non-drug users.

The administration claims that the evidence for the effectiveness of needle exchange is shaky. An official who requested anonymity directed us to a number of researchers who have allegedly cast doubt on the pro-exchange consensus. …

The only problem is when the Post dug into it and contacted the researchers, it turns out that all of the studies that were legitimate actually supported needle exchange. (Read the whole editorial for details.)
The administration was purposely lying about studies in order to push for reduced access to clean needles world-wide, thereby sentencing millions of innocent individuals to death (beyond the IV drug users themselves as the epidemic spreads) in order to promote their unworkable abstinence-only agenda.

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