In the past, conservatives successfully pushed Congress to prohibit federal dollars from being used to distribute sterile syringes to intravenous drug users. Now, with a severe outbreak of H.I.V. and hepatitis due to a surge in heroin use in states including Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia, the issue has returned with liberal House members calling for needle exchange programs.
With the pressure for congress to provide funds for sterile needle distribution, there is push back from conservative Christians and right wing Republicans who have established a new foundation called "Americans Against Harm Reduction."
The Reverend Mike Chickadee, spokesman for the group, stated today at a news conference, "Moral relativist, social nihilist, sick lifestyle activists are condoning sin when they advocate needle exchanges. In doing so they are supporting shooting up narcotics, but they call it "harm reduction."
Lois Lane, nationally known anti drug war and needle exchange advocate somehow was not screened out of the press conference and boomed out, in a deafening contralto voice that shook the room, "How is preventing the spread of a disease promoting the spread of disease you idiot?"
When two burly men sporting large lapel crosses attempted to remove Ms. Lane from the room, she more than successfully resisted (she seems to be an expert in some form of martial art employing high heels).
"Answer the question you fathead Bible Thumper," Lane thundered. "Too, tell me why the Surgeon General says that needle exchanges induce addicts to enter treatment programs."
At this point co-founder of "Americans Against Harm Reduction," Rep. Harold Rogers (R. KY) and chair of the House Appropriations Committee seized the microphone and sneered at Lane, "Drug use is criminal activity. Instead of passing out needles to addicts they should be arrested. So should you, lady, for advocating and abetting criminal behavior."
In response, Lois Lane and her partner Clark Kent pushed their way to the stage with their friend Mary Marvel, M.D. in tow. Dr. Marvel explained that," Addiction comes about through distortions of cognitive and emotional functioning that characterize addicts, particularly the compulsion to use drugs."
"This is the essence of addiction. Addiction is a brain disease. It cannot be treated by the police or politicians; it must be dealt with by the medical community," stated the muscular physician.
But the GOP controlled congress, whose power base in located in the conservative Christian right is highly unlikely to appropriate funds for needle exchange programs for states overwhelmed by heroin abuse and the cascading health crisis.