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Do needle exchanges reduce harm or raise use

Discussion in 'Heroin' started by singingintherain, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. singingintherain

    singingintherain Community Champion

    In my city we have several needle exchanges. They are in the 'not-so-nice' areas of town. I think these are important for reducing the potential harm that can come to people when they are addicted to IV drugs. Some of the local community have protested the installation of these saying that they will increase the drug use, as well as lead to loiterers hanging around.

    What are everyone's opinions of needle exchanges?
  2. MrAmazingMan1

    MrAmazingMan1 Active Contributor

    I would have to say it is a benefit to society as well as a negative impact. It almost encourages use for the users, but also helps keep the general population of users safe from diseases and such.
  3. Rosyrain

    Rosyrain Community Champion

    Needle exchange sites keep people more safe when they are using the drug. If they do not make an effort to quit, they will end up using dirty needles if they do not have access to clean ones and have the risk of becoming infected with bloodborne diseases. At least with needle exchange programs, the health issues are addressed.
    bubblycake likes this.
  4. MyDigitalpoint

    MyDigitalpoint Community Champion

    Yes, the real problem is when people are doing drugs using needles that could be already used or contaminated, so those needle exchange program could be questionable because they seems to be encouraging the injection of drugs, but certainly they don't, simply they are trying to put together actual users of injected drugs within a safe environment.

    I think, however, they would need to make available literature that explains this, so the neighborhoods where they are set may rest assured about their activities.
    bubblycake likes this.
  5. singingintherain

    singingintherain Community Champion

    That's a really good point about providing people in the area with information! I actually hadn't even thought about that aspect at all.

    I tend to research things a lot myself, watch documentaries and talk to people but I forget that not everyone does that. Many people who live around these exchanges probably haven't actually looked into the benefits of them themselves. It would probably have been a good idea for the local council to send out a leaflet to all neighboring residences with some statistics of infection rates and drug use etc.
    bubblycake likes this.
  6. elbowstain

    elbowstain Member

    I'd say its better than letting people share needles. It reduces the transfer of disease. It's like handing out condoms to teenagers in school. You can't stop them from doing it, but rather let them be protected/safer so they don't ruin their lives. I know HIV treatment has increased but no one wants to be diagnosed with any STI.
    bubblycake likes this.
  7. Rory

    Rory Active Contributor

    That is an excellent analogy. Odds are, if someone is coming to a needle change for the purpose of continuing/beginning drug use, they're dead set on it. You're not going to stop them. So, if they're going to harm themselves in that way, you might as well make sure that they can't hurt themselves any further.
  8. LoveEcho

    LoveEcho Community Champion

    I think they are really good. If someone is going to use then they aren't really too concerned for their health. I say that because they're already injecting a drug from an unknown source into their body. Even the users that do use clean needles every time will eventually turn to using dirty needles if they need to get high and don't a clean one, drugs do that to people. The urge to get high overpowers safety.

    At the needle exchanges I've heard of they have to give a dirty needle to get a clean. I'm sure that helps with stopping someone from just coming in for needles if they aren't a regular user. Hopefully, that discourages someone that doesn't use from trying the drug. Not too sure if that actually works though.

    I think this helps non-users too by lowering Hep infections/HIV/AIDS and others, so it doesn't infect non-users who are unknowingly coming in contact with users.
    bubblycake likes this.
  9. Ali16

    Ali16 Senior Contributor

    I think that the needle exchanges are a good thing. People are going to use whether or not there are clean needles available to them. Especially when it comes to a drug like heroin, nothing is going to stop people from using. Having the access to clean needles is only helping protect people's health and control the spread of disease. It isn't as if people are saying "oh, they are giving out clean needles now, let's go start using heroin!".
  10. stridee

    stridee Active Contributor

    Needle exchanges are a good thing. No matter what we do, people will use needles even if they are dirty. Heroine is a very powerful drug when injected so a lot of people will want to use a needle. At least if we give them clean needles, they will be safe from infections.
  11. singingintherain

    singingintherain Community Champion

    That's a really good point! It really does benefit everyone in quite a practical sense.
    LoveEcho likes this.
  12. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    Incidences of HIV and hepatitis have dropped dramatically in my area since the needle exchanges opened here. I've never seen a service user loitering around outside, I suspect they want to get home as quickly as possible.
    bubblycake likes this.
  13. bubblycake

    bubblycake Member

    Kind of an odd, almost off topic question but do the exchange programs also offer needle disposal as well? Seems like that would be of great benefit to the communities too.
  14. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    well if they are going to use...I guess it is better than contracting AIDS, Hepatitus or other chronic diseases that can be contracted from using contaminated needles. I think rather than promoting needle exchanges communities might want to look into funding methadone clinics. However, I am sure that needle exchanges are much cheaper than meth clinics.
  15. Nergaahl

    Nergaahl Community Champion

    I got mixed feelings about it. It seems like it encourages users to consume more rather than seeking help and getting clean. But at the same time it helps them not catch any disease through the infected needles. It's a weird thing.
  16. Ttirb

    Ttirb Active Contributor

    I think they are a good thing. I mean IV drug use is obviously not a good thing in general but it helps prevent the spread of diseases in the community. I don't think they encourage drug use because the people going there are probably already using in the first place, nobody's going to walk in off the street that doesn't use drugs and be like "oh I can get needles let me go do drugs".
  17. jbepp

    jbepp Active Contributor

    Needle exchanges help a lot to reduce infections and other complications. It may seem like it encourages people to do it more often, but I feel like if they get a bad disease in addition to their addiction things will only get worse. They're a positive thing and should be done regularly.
  18. singingintherain

    singingintherain Community Champion

    I definitely agree with you there! There's nothing tempting about a needle on its own - it's the addiction that fuels the need to use a needle in the first place.

    It's been really interesting reading everyone's point of view, thank you! Hopefully many people have been saved from serious diseases already through the use of needle exchanges.
  19. vegito12

    vegito12 Community Champion

    I reckon that it can be an increase in use as people can give it to others and also need to think of what can happen as sometimes people can be so addicted that, they don't care what can happen to them in the process. It is interesting to see that these needle exchange sites are effective sometimes and also, may encourage people to quit in the process which may happen one day. I think with these clean needles it can be nice to help people make safe choices and also that they, may one day make good choices and see that drugs is not a good way to cope with problems.
  20. Kwest92

    Kwest92 Member

    I think they're great. I know if they had been around while I was using, I wouldn't have contracted hepatitis C from sharing needles. Keeping the population safe is important.