Last Thursday, the California Department of Public Health approved the first ever needle exchange in Orange County. Orange County has long opposed needle exchanges, despite decades of evidence demonstrating that these programs save lives and prevent the spread of infectious disease.
Some people were surprised when West Virginia became one of the first Southern states to operate an above-ground syringe exchange program. But for Jim Johnson, now retired Chief of Police for Huntington, West Virginia, syringe exchange was a common sense solution to an increasingly complex problem.
The good news is that for decades, both injection drug users and doctors have been advocating for harm reduction, a rational and proven way to reduce infections. The idea is simple: lower the risks associated with using drugs.
Florida, due to its lack of action on the matter, has 30 years of data and success rates around the country and around the world to verify that Needle-exchange programs work as they take yet another year to make a decision to start one.
Innovative drug policies being practiced around the world are keeping people out of prison, getting help for those who need it, reducing HIV, crime and overdose deaths. To truly treat drug use as a health issue and end our country's unwinnable war, we need to implement three proven strategies.
During this National Public Health Week, I celebrate all of public health partners across the city and the country. Thank you for all that you do. I am proud to work in public health and to serve with you.
It is time for smokers and vapers to join the growing anti-drug war movement. Smokers and vapers may not think about it, but they are also drug users and they are being demonized and threatened like other drug users. And vapers may not know it, but they are harm-reductionists.
My morning with Ritchie, part of a required residency rotation on addiction, offered a rare glimpse into patients' lives outside hospital walls and the important, if unsettling, work that complements our efforts as physicians.
One way New York State is considering streamlining its Medicaid costs is by expanding needle-exchange centers to help drug users prevent getting HIV and hepatitis C. But that may take federal funds, and Congress reinstated a ban on such funds last year.
Given the state's current political climate, it's unlikely Florida will change its drug paraphernalia laws any time soon, which means the residents of inner city Miami will need to continue to watch their step.