No community in the United States is untouched by the overdose crisis, yet the needs of those most impacted too often go unmet. We need Congress to immediately fund lifesaving programs that address overdose and HIV among people who inject drugs by providing them with the compassionate, evidence based harm reduction services they need and deserve.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 104,288 people in the U.S. died from drug-related overdoses between September 2020 and September 2021–double the number of overdoses from the same period six years prior. At the same time that overdose deaths have been skyrocketing, new HIV diagnoses related to injection drug use have been rising, even as HIV transmission rates have mostly been decreasing across other populations.
Congress has the power to help stop these unnecessary overdose deaths, but only if they provide enough funding for harm reduction organizations to do the work that is necessary. We ask that you send your legislators a letter urging them to pass an appropriations package that includes $69.5 million for the CDC’s Opioid Related Infectious Diseases programs and that finally ends the harmful ban on federal funding for sterile syringes to reduce the risk of HIV and viral hepatitis transmission in injection drug use.
This funding has never been more needed in our communities and will be critical in supporting and empowering people who inject drugs, many of whom are living with or vulnerable to HIV. Through a harm reduction approach, we can affirm the rights, health, and dignity of people who use drugs and their loved ones, and together, end the HIV and overdose epidemics.