Health Activists Jab Vatican in Needle Exchange Battle

Officials call UN needle swap program 'anti-life'
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Feb 27, 2009 5:53 AM CST
A carnival float shows Pope Benedict XVI shaking hands with controversial Bishop Williamsonnin Duesseldorf on Monday.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
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(Newser) – World health activists are blasting the Vatican for battling a UN statement that would support measures to protect the health of drug users, such as needle exchange programs, reports the Guardian. Vatican officials say the global push for such "harm reduction" policies leads to "liberalization of drug use," which is "anti-life." The UN is set to sign a drug policy declaration next month amid a fierce EU-US debate over harm reduction language.

"By making a statement against harm reduction, the Vatican has indicated that its moral objection to drug use is more important than its commitment to the sanctity of life," said a statement from Release, a UK-based drugs and legal advice charity.