Hypodermic Needle- Needle Exchange Programs

Bluthenthal, Ricky N. “Needle Exchange Programs.” Encycolpedia of Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery, edited by Gary L. Fisher and Nancy A. Roget. SAGE Reference, SAGE Publications, 2009, sk.sagepub.com/reference/substance/n250.xml. Accessed 8 Dec. 2016.

This encyclopedia entry was very informative about needle exchange programs. The author explains that needle exchange programs consist of two things, being the collection and safe disposal of used needles/syringes and the delivery of new, sterile needles/syringes to people. It was explained that needle exchange programs were created to prevent the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and viral hepatitis (HBV and HCV) among intravenous drug users by removing potentially infected needles from circulation and replacing them with sterile ones. According to the World Health Organization there are approximately 13.2 million intravenous drug users in the world, with about 3 million infected with HIV. Also, an estimated 2 million people in the U.S. are infected with the Hepatitis C virus due to drug injection. These needle exchange programs have proven to be effective at lowering the number of people infected with these viruses/diseases, however, the practice is politically controversial because it is seen as encouraging drug abuse rather than simply preventing the spread of diseases. This source relates to the other sources regarding drug abuse and the spreading of diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B and C. The information from this source helped to further the argument regarding intravenous drug abusers, the risk spreading of diseases through hypodermic needles, and the importance of properly handling needles. A question that can be produced from this is “what other programs have been created to help stop the spreading of diseases by hypodermic needle?”.


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