Needle Exchange Programs: A Good Idea?

1216 Words5 Pages
Needle Exchange Programs: A Good Idea? Needle exchange programs (N.E.Ps) for intravenous (IV) drug users have been a controversial topic in the United States for years. For many users, sterile syringes are not readily available and drug laws in some countries make it illegal to distribute or possess syringes that serve a purpose that is not medical. As a result, many drug users share needles, which contribute to the spread of diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C which has become a serious problem around the world. The spread of these diseases among addicts has risen to such an extent that starting in the 80s, some activists and cities began opening needle exchanges. These are government-funded programs that supply clean needles to drug addicts in exchange for their dirty ones, so that they are at a lower risk of sharing needles and spreading diseases. Some people believe that these programs support illegal and illicit behavior, and say that the government should be putting more effort into reducing the use and flow of drugs onto our streets. Needle exchange programs can help benefit society by reducing the risk of diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis, steer addicts in the direction of recovery and help reduce the number of dirty needles discarded on the streets. HIV/AIDS is one of the biggest and baffling diseases our world has to deal with. IV drug users are at an especially high risk for these diseases through the act of sharing needles with other addicts who may be afflicted with the disease. Research shows that NEPs actually reduce the occurrence of HIV among drug-users. The first NEP was opened in New York City in early 1992. (Jarlais, Doc C Des, et al). He states that “Implementation of syringe exchange programs in the mid-1990s in New York City was associated with a dramatic reduction in HIV incidence among IDUs (Injection drug users)—from 4
Open Document