Pubdate: Thu, 01 Feb 2007
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2007 Amarillo Globe-News
Author:  Tracey Hayes
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


This is in response to your Jan. 29 Monday Briefing about state Sen. 
Bob Deuell's proposed needle exchange program.

Texas spends about 80 million Medicaid dollars a year treating 
preventable cases of HIV. New HIV cases are not decreasing, despite 
education and medical advancements.

Texas has the fourth-highest HIV/AIDS rate in the nation, and of the 
top 10 states, we are the only one yet to enact sterile syringe 
access for injection drug users.

NEPs do not increase drug use; they serve existing IDUs, many who 
want to quit their habit but have been unable. Through regularly 
visiting NEPs, clients develop trusting relationships with health 
care providers and addiction specialists, which helps move them 
closer to recovery readiness.

According to Johns Hopkins' most recent research, NEPs increase the 
number of IDUs who seek treatment.

NEPs have been operating in the U.S. for almost 30 years and have 
been examined extensively. Two conclusions are clear: In cities with 
NEPs, HIV and hepatitis C rates go down, and drug use does not increase.

Less HIV/AIDS is good for Texas. More addicts seeking rehabilitation 
is even better. Needle exchange will help create a healthier Texas.

And Sen. Deuell knows that.

Tracey Hayes, Director

Syringe Access Project

- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman