The Facts About Needle Exchange

courtesy of The Lindesmith Center, New York City

Needle exchange programs (NEPs) are a simple, cost-effective way to reduce needle sharing, curtail the transmission of HIV/AIDS, increase the safe disposal of used needles, provide information to injecting drug users (IDUs), and help users obtain drug treatment, detox, and primary health care. Yet the U.S. government prohibits federal funding of NEPs, and many state governments criminalize them. By contrast, national and local governments in Western Europe and Australia have made sterile syringes widely accessible through needle exchanges and pharmacies.

Scientific communities support needle exchanges.

Needle exchanges reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The costs of AIDS are rapidly rising in both human and economic terms.

Drug paraphernalia and prescription laws impede the establishment of needle exchanges.

Needle exchanges in action: How they work, whom they affect.

Other needle distribution methods can augment the effectiveness of needle exchanges.

The government should make specific policy changes to curtail the spread of AIDS.

For further information or source citations, contact Dan Weiller at (212) 887-0695 or via e-mail at [email protected].

From The Activist Guide, Issue #6, June '95, DRCNet Publications section, A Guided Tour of the War on Drugs home page.

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