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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Kudos to Los Angeles County Lawmakers


The article says that the Los Angeles County supervisors approved a measure to spend $500,000 on needle exchange programs. The true test will occur when we see how the measure is executed. Hopefully, they will develop a campaign to target IV drug users without stigmatizing them that directs them to resources where they can get clean needles. So, while this publication applauds the long overdue measure, it is too soon to tell if they are going to provide it properly.

Needle exchange programs have been scientifically proven to reduce HIV and other blood borne pathogens. There is no evidence to suggest that providing clean needles encourages more drug use. Let us face facts, like abstinence, people are going to use drugs. Providing clean and sterile needles in exchange for their dirty ones gives people life.

Just as condoms should be distributed, clean needles need to be made available. The county has taken a pivotal step in the right direction. After ruling that it is legal to have needle exchanges, they have realized that funding is a necessary component that was lacking in their proposal. Hopefully this funding will be spent in the proper way that provides individuals with information and resources without stigmatizing them.

Data from 2001 shows that 25% of new United States HIV infections were a result of injection drug use. Efforts like this have the potential to reduce that number.

2 Comments:

At Sun Aug 07, 08:33:00 AM GMT+10, Blogger David said...

Having been an avid I.V. drug user, I applaude the efforts of L.A. in legalizing needle exchange programs ...even more that there is no stymatizing...not that it bothers me but I do know of those who are quite timid about admitting their dirty little habit.

 
At Sun Aug 07, 08:21:00 PM GMT+10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David,

I agree. I hope that this program is executed properly without stigmatizing or blaming the victim. The matter should be of a public health concern - keeping individuals safe and providing clean needles so that they do not transmit blood borne pathogens like HIV.

 

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