AG Hill: CDC asks State to alter data on link between needle exchange and increased drug use

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Attorney General Curtis Hill has issued a statement regarding a letter in which federal officials asked the State of Indiana to alter data pertaining to results of a “syringe exchange program” undertaken in Scott County, Indiana, in 2015. The letter comes from officials with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The final 2016 report of the Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention determined that drug users receiving clean needles through the “syringe exchange program” reported injecting themselves with drugs more often after the start of the program – from five times a day, on average, to nine times a day. The data from the 2016 report has been cited as evidence of the increase of drug use resulting from implementation of the “syringe exchange program.” CDC officials have asked the Drug Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention Commission (formerly the Governor’s Task Force) to now change the report so that it does not describe an increase in drug use.

Attorney General Hill stated:

“I find incredible the notion that federal officials would ask a state commission to alter or delete statistical findings that do not support the pro-needle-exchange narrative propagated by the CDC. Well-meaning people can disagree on the merits of handing out needles to addicts; however, citizens deserve an honest debate rather than manipulation of facts.”

Hill acknowledged media reports that CDC officials have advised state and local officials not to collect too much data in relation to needle distribution lest they confuse the public with facts.

“Of all agencies, the CDC should prefer objective science and the collection of more data rather than less. The CDC’s credibility will become strained if it insists on changing data anytime the facts do not support predetermined policy agendas. The data generated should speak for itself. Rather than busying itself seeking to change data to conform to a particular narrative, the CDC should focus greater energy on the all-important data point related to the rise of opioid-related deaths.”

“More and more Hoosiers are dying from opioid abuse every day. Passing out needles does nothing to stop that.”

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