Florida Needle Exchange Programs
With the heroin epidemic repeatedly making headlines throughout Southern Florida, it is in the best interest of state legislators to begin making some significant strides towards change. While fatal overdose is by far the largest problem the state currently faces in regards to intravenous drug use, the continuous and extensive spread of Hepatitis, HIV, and other blood-borne diseases has also proven to be quite a threat. Governor Rick Scott recently signed into law a bill specifically designed to slow the rapid spread of HIV through intravenous drug use by creating a needle-exchange program available to addicts statewide. The IDEA (Infectious Disease Elimination) Act of Miami-Dade County implements needle exchange programs throughout the region, allowing heroin addicts and other intravenous drug users to exchange used and unsanitary syringes for those that are both sterile and unused, with no questions asked and no looming threat of arrest.
NEPs Reduce the Risk of Blood-Borne Disease Spreading
For years, clean needle exchange programs have been topics of extreme controversy. Those in favor of such programs believe that providing addicts with clean needles will help prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases – and that’s it. If an addict is deep enough in the throes of active addiction to even consider shooting up heroin with an unclean needle, he or she is likely going to continue using regardless of the cleanliness of injection tools.
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Those in opposition of these programs believe that they both encourage and condone illegal drug use. However, it has become increasingly clear over the course of the past several years that a carefully constructed reform program is nothing short of essential until more treatment options are made available. Florida currently ranks at the very top of the national list as far as new HIV infections go – with South Florida unsurprisingly leading the way. The largest contributing factor to this unsettling trend is the increase in intravenous drug use, and the lack of education surrounding the importance of safe injection practices as well as the harsh absence of preventative programs (such as NEPs).
Preventative Programs Offer Guidance and Support
Needle exchange programs have proven extremely successful in other parts of the nation, visibly helping to reduce new cases of HIV and Hepatitis while concurrently offering addicts the support they need to enter into treatment if they so choose. This is one of the biggest and least addressed benefits of such programs – offering addicts the guidance and support they need to enter into the Florida drug addiction treatment programs they so desperately need. For more information on these specific programs, or for a comprehensive list of Florida treatment programs available to you, please contact one of our trained representatives today.