Pubdate: Tue, 08 Jun 2004
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)
Copyright: 2004 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


Needle exchanges have been proven to reduce the spread of HIV without 
increasing drug use. They also serve as a bridge to drug treatment for an 
especially hard-to-reach population.

Drug users are not the only beneficiaries. Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention researchers estimate that 57 percent of AIDS cases among women 
and 36 percent of overall AIDS cases in the United States are linked to 
injection drug use or sex with partners who inject drugs.

This easily preventable public health crisis is a direct result of 
zero-tolerance laws that restrict access to clean syringes. In the interest 
of containing the HIV epidemic, let's hope that New Jersey's tough-on-drugs 
politicians acknowledge the drug war's tremendous collateral damage sooner 
rather than later.

Robert Sharpe, Policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington
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