A bill to lift a ban on the use of U.S. government money for needle-exchange programs includes a provision that could still prevent most of the country's approximately 200 exchanges from getting any federal funding.
That's because the bill -- which has passed the House and a Senate subcommittee and awaits Senate action -- would forbid federally financed needle exchanges from being within 1,000 feet of a school, park, library, college, video arcade or any other place where children are likely to gather, The New York Times reported.
There are few, if any, places that could house a needle exchange under those rules, according to officials at exchanges in major cities. The same is true for many smaller, rural needle exchanges.
"This 1,000-foot rule is simply instituting the ban in a different form," Rebecca Haag, executive director of the AIDS Action Council advocacy group, told The Times. "Clearly the intent of this rule is to nullify the lifting of the ban."