Syringe Exchange Programs Have Prevented Thousands of New HIV Cases, Study Finds
A new study finds syringe exchange programs in Philadelphia and Baltimore have prevented thousands of new HIV cases in people who use drugs.
North America’s only government-sanctioned facility that medically supervises the injection of illegal drugs, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, continues to stir controversy, according to CNN.
People addicted to drugs can bring and use them at the facility, called InSite, without risking arrest. Some people line up two or three times a day to use one of the facility’s injection booths, the article notes. They are given clean needles to reduce the spread of infections such as HIV and hepatitis C, and are supervised by a nurse as they inject themselves.
In 2011, the medical journal The Lancet published a study that found InSite reduced fatal overdoses by 35 percent in a neighborhood that has one of Canada’s highest rates of drug addiction. InSite, funded by taxpayers, says that for every tax dollar spent, four are saved, by preventing more expensive medical care in the future.
The Canadian federal government does not support the facility, according to CNN. In 2011, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled in favor of keeping InSite open, against the wishes of the federal government. The court said the facility provides people with drug addiction access to the same healthcare as other Canadian citizens.
A study that evaluated the viability of injection rooms in Ontario province recommended three sites in Toronto, and two in Ottawa. Toronto’s city administration rejected the findings.
Injection rooms operate in countries including Switzerland, Australia, Norway, Spain and Germany.