Prevention that works – Syringe Exchanges in the news

Thanks to NYTimes magazine those of us in the prevention and education field of public health are getting good press. It has been a rough few months , and I’ll include ACORN in that rough patch as one of the mantras in Prevention is: “Housing IS prevention”.

Since that article launched last week, there has been more buzz about the valuable and difficult work that needle exchanges offer. I wanted to highlight a few of them, particularly as there are far too few needle exchanges across the US and the ones that do exist often face police harassment, community reprisal, staff burnout, funding cuts, and other threats to their existence. Or, more importantly, bills that are moving in the legislature to ban them

1. Physician’s for Human Rights: Tell Obama to end the Syringe Exchange Ban
2. Harm Reduction Coalition features a guest author who talks about how a needle exchange saved [their] life
3. Center for Global Health Policy on how needle programs curb the spread of HIV/AIDS across the globe.
4. Hume Leader: ‘Syringes: A Life saver, a study’
5. The Australian Drug Blog evaluates Australian government data on cost-effectiveness, return on investment and prevention in needle exchange programs
6. A TED talk by Marc Kosha has a more global focus on the re-use of syringes in low-resourced clinics. His proposal? Create a single-use low-cost syringe. This is important to include in this list as needle exchanges and syringe access not only impacts the people who public health/epidemiologists call IDUs (intravenous drug users). They’re an important target group in the public health field, but ‘syringe access’ is a very broad category.
7. On Needle Exchanges: Another 1,000 foot mistake

There are many more, if you know of others, please post them in the comments.

If you’re in New England or can get to New York City, Harm Reduction Coalition is hosting a training on Syringe Access Services & Law Enforcement on Dec 3rd from 10am-5PM.

I’m impressed by the needle exchanges that admist all of the political turmoil and controversy over their existence are somehow able to find the time to set up wound care and narcan workshops for their clients. These educational workshops are usually in addition to providing their usual services. Thanks for the work that all of you do.


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