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Running head NEEDLE EXCHANGE AN EFFECTIVE STRATEGY Needle exchange An effective strategy to prevent disease transmission without increasing drug usage Earl Driscoll Community College of Philadelphia English 102 Professor Douglas Hohen May 1 2005 Abstract Needle exchange saves lives Every life is worth saving Needle exchange is controversial due to questions about efficacy as well as the fear that needle exchange encourages drug usage The individuals who needle exchange targets are marginalized members of society and as such are viewed by some as disposable not deserving of the life saving intervention of needle exchange This paper will look at the literature research current opinions an opinion survey and include an interview with a staff member of a needle exchange program NEP Needle exchange An effective strategy to prevent disease transmission without increasing drug usage Introduction Needle exchange is a strategy to reduce the spread of bloodborne disease by providing injection drug users IDU with sterile syringes in exchange for used contaminated syringes According to Cothran 2001 Based on the assessment that it is impossible to eliminate completely intravenous drug use in society needle exchanges were first instituted in Amsterdam in 1983 to prevent the transmission of hepatitis B and HIV human immunodeficiency virus the causative agent of AIDS which can occur when needles are shared p 42 Needle exchange is a strategy of harm reduction According to Hilton Thompson Moore-Dempsey and Janzen 2001 Harm reduction does not seek to eliminate drug use it focuses on minimizing the personal and social harms and costs associated with drug use and spread of HIV It seeks to ameliorate conditions surrounding drug use responsible for the spread of HIV in the IDU community unequal access to health services sharing of infected needles racial and social discrimination poverty exposure to street violence inadequate housing lack of employment poor general or mental health and other demographic and social determinates
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