Local politics may prevent needle exchanges in Newark, N.J.
Local politics and the vocal opposition of one detractor may prevent Newark, N.J., the state's largest city, from implementing a needle-exchange program under a law enacted by former governor James
McGreevey, The Star-Ledger of Newark reports. The law allows up to three New Jersey cities
to launch needle-exchange programs to help prevent HIV and hepatitis infections among injection drug users; Atlantic City and Camden already have pilot programs in place. Newark would seem an obvious choice for the third city because of its size, a rampant drug problem, and the second-highest HIV-related mortality rate of any city in the nation. But Newark deputy mayor Ronald Rice, who is also a state senator, is vehemently opposed to needle exchanges and has pledged to block any effort to launch a program in Newark. "I will go to hell before I ever support anything like that. They will never get my vote," he told The Star-Ledger.