GLAD and AIDS Action Committee filed a brief November 28 at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in a suit fighting efforts by the town of Barnstable to shut down a life-saving needle distribution program operated by AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod (ASGCC). A Superior Court judge granted ASGCC a preliminary injunction against the town in December 2015, and the SJC is now reviewing the case on appeal.

“The trial judge agreed with us in his initial ruling: MA law is clear that there are no restrictions on an individual or organization providing access to clean needles,” says Ben Klein, GLAD’s AIDS Law Project Director. “But the Town of Barnstable’s recalcitrance, and the fact that the opioid epidemic is happening statewide in MA, makes it important for the SJC to declare that’s exactly what the law is.”

The brief was filed  just as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new study which makes clear that increased access to clean needles is critical to reducing transmission of HIV and Hepatitis C.