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Rangel Cites GAO Study in Criticism of Needle-Exchange


April 1993

A recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report that found only two of nine needle exchange projects it studied reduced needle-sharing among addicts was cited by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York) as grounds for restraining the expansion of needle-exchange programs (AP. "GAO Studies Needle Exchanges," Washington Post, 3/28/93, A9).

Arnold Trebach, Ph.D., president of the Washington, D.C.-based Drug Policy Foundation (DPF), blasted Rep. Rangel (DPF Press Release, "Foundation Applauds Positive GAO Report On Needle Exchanges: Rangel 'Spin' On Report Called 'False'," 3/31/93).

Rangel had issued a statement March 26 characterizing as inconclusive a General Accounting Office (GAO) report concluding needle exchange is a promising AIDS prevention strategy. Rangel had requested the GAO study of needle exchange programs two years earlier.

Trebach said: "Mr. Rangel's spin control doesn't change the facts. The GAO said virtually all of the strong evidence on needle exchanges is favorable and that many of the objections to such programs are unfounded. Anyone with an open mind who cares about reducing the spread of AIDS would look at that evidence and conclude that we must use these programs on a wider scale. This report is a historic confirmation by an impartial federal agency that needle exchange works."