Letting Science Lead, Again

Needle-exchange programs are efficient, cost-effective means for HIV/AIDS prevention. Will a controversial, 21-year-old ban stand in the way?

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Which brings us back to President Obama’s stated convictions. The White House has decided to let Congress lead when it comes to the details of several contentious policy debates, from health care to energy, and there’s probably wisdom in the tactic. But as we’ve seen in the broader health care battle, there comes a time when Beltway politics demand the president’s weight. We’ve reached that point on this long-overdue reform.

The issue speaks to more than just Obama’s campaign pledge to lift the needle-exchange ban. Remember his heroic words back in March? While lifting a similarly boneheaded ban on stem cell research, Obama issued a memo to agency heads, demanding, “Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my administration.” Time to walk the talk, Mr. President.  

Kai Wright is The Root’s senior writer.


Editor’s note: A version of this post was also distributed through the Progressive Media Project’s newspaper op-ed syndicate.