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Argument: Needle exchanges do not increase, and often reduces, drug use

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"Does Needle Exchange Encourage Drug Use?". About.com. September 3, 2007: "There is no evidence that needle exchange programs increase the amount of drug use by needle exchange clients in the community in general. A study of a San Francisco needle exchange program that opened in 1988 found that from 1987 to 1992, frequency of injecting drugs among street-recruited IVDUs declined from 1.9 to 0.7 injections per day. The mean age of IVDUs increased from 36 to 42 years, and the percentage of new initiates into injection drug use dropped from three percent to one percent. Drug abuse and the recruitment of new or younger users did not increase in the presence of the exchange; in fact, the exchange may have helped decrease the amount of drug abuse in the area."


Jenny Murphy, Bryan Knowles. "Are Needle Exchange Programs a Good Idea?". June 15, 2000: "Between 1991 and 1997, the U.S. government funded seven reports on clean needle programs for persons who inject drugs. The reports are unanimous in their conclusions that clean needle programs reduce HIV transmission, and none find that clean needle programs cause rates of drug use to increase."


David Lewis. "Should needle exchange be publicly funded?". PBS: "Opponents will argue that needle exchange only encourages drug use. This is simply not borne out by existing data. In fact, even the most prestigious research and clinical bodies in the United States -- the National Academy of Sciences, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Medical Association -- endorse needle exchange precisely because virtually all needle exchange programs studied decrease HIV transmission while none increased drug abuse."


"Interventions To Prevent HIV Risk Behaviors". National Institutes of Health, Consensus Development Conference Statement". February 11-13, 1997: "A preponderance of evidence shows either no change or decreased drug use. The scattered cases showing increased drug use should be investigated to discover the conditions under which negative effects might occur, but these can in no way detract from the importance of needle exchange programs. Additionally, individuals in areas with needle exchange programs have increased likelihood of entering drug treatment programs.On the basis of such measures as hospitalizations for drug overdoses, there is no evidence that community norms change in favor of drug use or that more people begin using drugs. In Amsterdam and New Haven, for example, no increases in new drug users were reported after introduction of a needle exchange program."

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