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The Needle Exchange Program Essay

769 words - 4 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

Both the CDC and The National Institute of Health support needle-exchange programs. The NIH estimates that in the United States, between fifteen and twenty percent of injection drug users have HIV and at least seventy percent have hepatitis C.
As of 2011 the United States had at least 221 programs running. Most were legally authorized and local health authorities managed 38 percent. These programs are funded by a combination of state and local funding as well as through donations. As of 2011, CDC estimated that every HIV infection prevented through a needle exchange program saves an estimated US$178,000+. Separately it reported an overall 30 percent or more reduction in HIV cases among IV drug users. The cost of one syringe is $0.97. The cost of antiviral medications used for the treatment of HIV is $38 per day.
“Although participants in a needle exchange program may experience reduced HIV incidence, they can still die of causes such as overdose, collapsed veins, contaminated dope and street violence. Drug-addicted mothers will still deliver drug-addicted babies. Training drug addicts in safer injection protocols enables them to continue to support the violent and criminal drug trade. The root causes of addiction continue to be untreated. In a 1993 mortality study among 415 injection drug users in the Philadelphia area, over four...

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