Las abrumadoras evidencias a favor de los centros de inyección segura deben prevalecer sobre los prejuicios con respecto al uso de drogas inyectadas. Más información, en inglés, está disponible abajo.

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By Keri Blakinger

On Dec. 18, Congress passed a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill filled with numerous additions and addendums, including, somewhat surprisingly, a rider that might be really important to drug addicts. It restores the possibility of federal funding for needle exchange programs. For both drug users and those who advocate for them, this is a huge step—but there’s still more to be done.

The first ban on federal funding for needle exchanges was implemented back in the late 1980s. We’ve been relying on stigma to dictate our public health policies for almost three decades. In 2009, legislators briefly relented and lifted the ban, only to reinstate it with a spending bill in December 2011.

It’s well-documented that needle exchanges reduce HIV and hepatitis transmission rates among IV drug users. This 1998 study found that one needle exchange in Connecticut reduced the HIV infection rate among participants by 33%. Also, it’s worth noting that a 2000 study–conducted by the same two scientists—found that needle exchanges did not correlate with any increase in crime. In other words, they’re not making your neighborhood unsafe. And from a public health perspective, they’re actually making it safer.

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Thumbnail CC Todd Huffman