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April 28, 1998

H.R. 3717 - Prohibition Regarding Illegal Drugs and the
Distribution of Hypodermic Needles

(Rep. Solomon (R) NY and four cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 3717 because it is unnecessary and unwarranted. The Administration concurs in the longstanding position of the Congress that the Secretary of Health and Human Services should have the authority to determine the scientific and public health merit of needle exchange programs as they affect rates of HIV transmission and injection drug use. The Administration believes, as Congress has to this point, that the top public health leadership of the Federal government remains the appropriate place for this determination, and that the decision on which HIV prevention strategies to use should rest with State and local officials.