As a result of a class project I’ve been taking a look at and thinking about the usefulness and morality of needle exchange programs. So what is a needle exchange program? Needle exchange programs provide clean needles and clean injection sites free for users as well as dirty needle disposal. Also NEPs DO NOT supply drugs. By working with my classmates I was able to define some of the generally accepted pros and cons of NEPs based on research data and moral views.
-Reduces disease in the community (most notably aids)
-Cleanliness of the community increases
-Actually pretty cheap and more cost effective then aids treatment
-Does not combat drug abuse itself
-Makes drug use more accessible/ favourable (This point was not based on data but on prevalent public opinion from detractors)
-Only works if the drug users cooperate.
My opinion: To me the pros far outweigh the cons. The bottom line is that this movement saves lives and improves the lives of many people (not just drug users but also people who contact the diseases from them). It is cost effective and there is no evidence that it increases intravenous drug use prevalence. So for those reasons although I am against intravenous drug use I support NEPs.
What do you think?