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Harm Reduction through Syringe Access Programs NJ

We are looking at an epidemic again HIV/ AIDS/Hepatitis C if something drastic is not done..

The opioid crisis in America has taken on such drastic proportions that the political and medical communities are taking unprecedented steps to stem the tide of overdoses and deaths. One such method to reduce the harm of heroin abuse is the use of syringe access programs, also known as needle exchange programs or a syringe exchange program. The thought of giving heroin addicts a safe place to inject themselves may seem counterproductive, but if the end result is that more users are introduced to treatment and fewer people die, then many healthcare workers believe it’s worth the risk.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that intravenous heroin use increases the risk of exposure to HIV, viral hepatitis, and other infectious diseases and agents through contact with infected blood or body fluids (such as semen or saliva) when users share needles and other drug paraphernalia.1 The risk of infection extends beyond other drug users; “thousands” of discarded needles used in heroin intake were left discarded in public parks in Boston, and dozens of other cities across the country have struggled with how to deal with the problem of heroin addicts leaving contaminated needles in bus stops, parking lots, and on beaches.2 In Sacramento, for example, city employees pick up 50 or 60 syringes “on a typical day” in the same parks where children and their parents play catch.3

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