Pubdate: Tue, 10 August 1999
Source: Herald Sun (Australia)
Copyright: News Limited 1999
Author: Lorraine Beyer


THANKS to the needle exchanges, Australia has one of the lowest rates of
transmission of HIV AIDS in the world. The exchanges were never intended to
reduce drug use and there is nothing to show that they, or other “soft
options” increase drug use.

What is clear is that they have been extremely successful in reducing the
harm associated with injecting-drug use. Without needle exchanges, the
children of injecting drug users would be at much higher risk of hepatitis
and HIV, as would the whole Australian community.

Savings in misery and sickness, not to mention the savings to the health
care system because of needle exchanges, would have to be enormous.

Lorraine Beyer, criminologist, Univeristy of Melbourne and Macfarlane Burnet

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