Argumentative Essay On Needle Exchange Programs

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"With over a 100 people in the United States becoming infected with HIV, HCV, or HBV every day as a result of injection drug use”(Franciscus). Needle exchange programs were implanted for the purpose of reducing injection user’s risk of bloodborne diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted diseases. These programs “provide sterile needles in exchange for contaminated or used needles, increase access to sterile needles and to remove contaminated syringes from circulation in the community” (Vlahov 77). This program promotes a better outcome for these needle drug users. Although some argue that these types of programs are not being implanted to improve the community, but instead that they are promoting drug use by “feeding”…show more content…
The history of needle exchange programs originated from Europe in the early 1980s, and later immigrated to the North East side of the United States. Jon Parker, who was a former IV drug user, started the U.S’s first illegal NEP. “There were many oppositions toward NEP’s which prohibited federal funding until there was proved research that it will reduce HIV, while not increasing drug use” (Des Jarlais, 2006). This led to the extensive development of NEP’s due to lack of funding and an vast spread of HIV “During this opposition and denial of funding “4,400- 9,700 avoidable HIV infection occurred” (Heimer, 1998). The first legal NEP in the United States opened in Washington State in 1988 (Des Jarlais), this program had support from Pierce COunty Health Department. This program participated in a research study that proved how beneficial NEP’s were in reducing risks of HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. With a great comparison between IDUs who participated in this study who exchanged needles within the program and those who didn’t persuaded the “U.S. National Commission and AIDS to endorse NEP’s in 1991” (De Jarlais). Many seem to believe that allowing needle exchange programs to operate in their community they will see an increase in the number of needle injecting drug users. However research proves that it’s just the opposite “NEP’s do not increase crime or drug use and provide gateway to drug treatment and HIV prevention services”(Hagan 2000) the number of drug users does not increase, experts argue that harm reduction policies decrease the negative consequences of drug use as well as act as a bridge to treatment and general medical
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