Al Jazeera America: Amid ‘incredible epidemic,’ needle exchange programs gain momentum

Al Jazeera America: Amid ‘incredible epidemic,’ needle exchange programs gain momentum

As needle exchange clinics gain acceptance across the US, politics and bureaucracy may be curbing their spread

By Lisa De Bode

A spike in intravenous drug use in a growing number of U.S. counties has led to soaring infection rates of hepatitis C and HIV in communities across the country. Increasingly these counties are pushing for the creation of needle exchange programs, but politics and bureaucracy appears to be slowing the spread of such harm reduction programs.

By enabling access to health care, rehab facilities and addressing social inequalities that exacerbate substance abuse, advocates say harm reduction programs, like needle exchanges, help to reduce the negative health effects of drug injection.

“There has been a big change in how state legislators view overdose and view drug-related harm in general,” said Corey Davis, the deputy director of the National Health Law Program. Read the full article here. »

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