A Needle Exchange Controversy

Needle Exchange Programs: The Best Solution?
The United States of America has been contending with adverse social and economic effects of the drug abuse, namely of heroin, since the foundation of this country. Our initial attempt to outlaw heroin with the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914 resulted in the U.S. having the worst heroin problem in the world (Tooley 540). Although the legislative actions regarding heroin hitherto produced ominous results that rarely affected any individuals other than the addict and his or her family, the late twentieth century brings rise to the ever-infringing AIDS epidemic in conjunction with heroin abuse. The distribution of clean needles to intravenous (IV) drug users is being encouraged in an attempt to prevent the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from sharing “contaminated needles” (Glantz 1077). It is the contention of this paper to advocate the establishment and support of needle exchange programs for intravenous drug users because such programs reduce the spread of HIV and do not cause an increase of drug use. This can be justified simply by examining the towering evidence that undoubtedly supports needle exchange programs and the effectiveness of their main objective to prevent the spread of the HIV.
Countries around the world have come to realize that prohibiting the availability of clean needles will not prevent IV drug use; it will only prevent safe IV drug use (Glantz 1078). Understanding that IV drug use is an inescapable aspect of almost every modern society, Europeans have been taking advantage of needle exchange programs in Amsterdam since the early 1980’s (Fuller 9).Established in 1988, Spain’sfirst needle exchange program has since been joined by 59 additional programs to advocate the use of clean injection equipment (Menoyo 410) in an attempt to slow the spread of HIV. Several needle exchange programs sponsored by religious organizations in Australia have “reporte…

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