The Needle Exchange Program

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Submitted By lisaspero
Words 754
Pages 4
Needle Exchange Program
Lisa Spero
South University

Needle Exchange Program The Needle Exchange Program is a social service created for intravenous drug users to be able to return their used needles in exchange for new, clean ones. It was initially funded by the federal government, but was banned in 1988, with a short reversal from 2009-2011. Currently there are 16 states and the District of Columbia that have provisions authorizing needle exchange programs.
The programs have been shown to reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C that occurs within the population of IV drug users sharing needles. There is controversy concerning the provision of paraphernalia to illicit drug users and some believe that it promotes the usage rather than people taking responsibility for an illegal habit with grave consequences they risk by choosing to use. The World Health Organization HIV/AIDS Program states that needle exchange programs are most effective when other services are offered that are targeted at IV drug users. Some of those would be HIV testing and counseling, education and treatment of STI’s, prevention and vaccination for Hepatitis B and C, antiretroviral therapy for HIV positive patients other interventions designed specifically for the risks of IV drug use. Advocates hold that those trapped in dangerous behaviors are often unable and/or unwilling to break free of them, and should at least be enabled to continue these behaviors in a less harmful manner. A tendency in the medical profession has been to treat drug dependency as a chronic illness like diabetes, hypertension and asthma, to be treated, evaluated and even insured in like manner. Treating drug dependency as an illness absolves drug users of responsibility for their condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), around 1/5 of all new HIV infections and the vast majority of…...

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