Needle Exchange Programs

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.

Pros:
-Reduces disease in the community (most notably aids)
-Cleanliness of the community increases
-Actually pretty cheap and more cost effective then aids treatment
-Saves lives

Cons:
-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?

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2 thoughts on “Needle Exchange Programs

  1. It seems like one of those issues that the right-leaning, Conservative voting, law-and-order crowd would say is promoting drug use and other associated criminal activity that comes with it, like prostitution, robbery, etc. that feed the drug habit. These people tend to be reactive to any issue-as opposed to, preventive measures, like needle-exchanges. Although, in the long run, prevention is always cheaper than reactive measures…

    Cvet

  2. I definitely agree that this is a good thing. Disposing of needles safely reduces the risk for non-drug users in the community. I remember one day as a child playing on a beach in Owen Sound. Owen Sound has a significant meth problem, and we encountered a needle. I remember calling my mother over to show her, and her reaction was not a positive one. I had not known not to touch it, but her reaction made that clear. My family also used to love watching drug documentaries together, and I remember how dangerous it was for the man in the heroin episode, just getting high in the park of a bad neighborhood. NEPs don’t solve the issue, but they definitely decrease the risk of danger to and in the community.

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