Ramsey Writes Hastert to Urge Repeal of Ban on Needle Exchange Funding
[Note: The following letter was sent by MPD Chief Ramsey at the request of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, just two days before consideration of amendments to the FY 2000 D.C. Appropriations Bill on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.]
METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT
P. O. Box 1606
Washington, D.C. 20013-1606
July 27, 1999
The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
United States House of Representatives
2263 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Speaker:
Last year, Congress voted to prohibit the District of Columbia from spending local funds to support the Districtís needle exchange program. The matter of funding for the needle exchange program is once again before Congress.
I am writing to urge you and your distinguished colleagues to discontinue the ban on using District of Columbia funds to support this public health initiative.
As a matter of policy, I view the needle exchange program as a public health issue that is necessitated by the need to effectively combat the spread of HIV and AIDS in our communities. Based on the information I have seen, the current needle exchange program is well managed and has an exemplary return rate. I have received no reports which indicate that the program has been abused in any way or has created serious public safety problems in the District.
I appreciate your consideration, and would be happy to address any questions you may have regarding this matter.
Charles H. Ramsey
Chief of Police