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03/13/2012

The War on Drug Users: Are Syringe Exchanges Immoral?

External Link - Source: The Atlantic

Many advocates for syringe exchanges say that in allowing an outdated moral agenda to trump science, politicians like Rogers are launching a misguided attack on both drug users and taxpayers in general. Eight federally-funded research reports have concluded that these programs reduce HIV transmission without increasing the use of illicit drugs. In New York City, the rate of new HIV infections among drug users fell 80 percent after the city implemented syringe exchanges. And the cost savings from such programs have been enormous: A clean syringe costs about $0.97 (PDF), according to Human Rights Watch. The average lifetime cost for treating HIV, in contrast, is around $300,000.

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