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The US is ready to try needle vending machines for drug users

By Emilita, Apr 18, 2017 | | |
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  1. Emilita
    Sometimes, the most effective health policy is to acknowledge that people are going to make unhealthy decisions—and try to create an environment where those choices are a little safer.

    [​IMG]Las Vegas health officials agree. They’re installing clean-needle vending machines at three locations in the city, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. These vending machines will look just like the ones that distribute snacks, except they don’t take cash. Kits with 10 new syringes, a tourniquet, and a container for used needles to be safely thrown away will be available for drug users to pick up twice a week at the end of May.

    These vending machines, provided by a collaboration among the South Nevada Health District, the Nevada AIDS Research and Education Society, and Trac-B Exchange, a local nonprofit focused on harm reduction, are for heroin, crack, or crystal meth users. The machines will be in three different Trac-B locations. Users will have to have to register with the centers to get a personal card with an access code for the machines. They won’t have to provide any identifying information for these cards, but will be limited to two packs of needles per week.

    Sharing needles carries the risk of spreading blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. Although users will still be shooting up with potentially lethal drugs, they can at least avoid spreading infections. Nevada has one of the highest HIV rates in the country, with over 20 cases per 100,000 people.

    The harm-reduction approach suggests that dishing out strict punishments for drug use doesn’t actually stop people from using drugs. Instead, you can assume that people will likely use drugs no matter what— and you may as well facilitate safer use. Countries like Australia have used clean needle vending machines in the past. In year-long studies, researchers didn’t find any adverse effects, like an uptick in new drug users, associated with them. Other studies have found that access to clean needles reduces the spread of disease and, in this case, if people who come pick up these needles need help with anything else—including resources for getting clean—case managers will be available to assist them.

    Right now, the Nevada efforts are funded entirely by donations. It’s unclear how long this program will last without other resources, like federal support. US president Donald Trump said multiple times during his campaign that he cares deeply about the opioid crisis in America. But so far the policies he’s put forward—including proposing drastic cuts to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s budget—don’t seem geared towards actually helping drug users.

    Original Source

    Written by: Katherine Ellen Foley, Apr 18, 2017, The US is ready to try needle vending machines for drug users, Quartz

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Comments

  1. Wurfgurf
    Slowly, slowly, but absolutely surely, the world is waking up. It might take 20 more years for some form of legalization to begin, and likely it will happen in spotty patches like everything else that causes trepidation begins. Once the people understand, even as the caveman understood that fire made their life better despite its deadly capacity, then it will show its true incipience. Our country will be so much safer, richer, and most importantly (to me), free...Er (fuck it, run with it!!). Plus the countries that are main producers of each drug, such as cocaine, we would have much better relations with them and of course, we would know exactly what we were shoot/snort/smoking without worry that extra poisons were in the batch like some cracker jack prize from Satan. I have hope. I see a world where we are free to make choices, shame on you if you make them, but that's between you and your God or lack thereof. We save our judges for the real criminals that kill people and then fuck their babies for sport. Can you imagine a world where people don't get arrested for plant materials or our adorable imitations we create in labs? Can you imagine a cartel-free world? The drugs brought to us from people we trust and love, not don't trust and fear. It is coming. That beautiful fucking dream is coming.
  2. Lunaris Lynx
    Far too many amazing people become ill and even die from repeatedly using needles without any way to properly cleanse and sanitize them between usage. Those who share or use contaminated drug paraphernalia because the pains of the addiction they are experiencing dominate their ability to reason, in one unfortunate moment, are too often dealt a blow they will never be able to come back from.

    Why? Because out of every affliction that rears it's head on society, they had the unfortunate circumstance of contracting the one that mainstream culture sees fit to meet with punishment, disdain and shaming, not to mention labeling those afflicted as unworthy of respect, proper health care and at times of even common human decency.

    Society today is riddled with addiction. You can drink yourself into fatal illness and financial ruin, you can develop gluttonous eating habits that leave you unable to take care of yourself or gamble away the roof over your family's head and still be met with open support and understanding. Drug addiction, for some reason, very seldom seems to be met with the same sensitivity or concern.

    Clean needle vending machines are long overdue. The Las Vegas health officials who have agreed to put this project to work will certainly save lives. The vending machines may also serve to remind others that there are people out there that need resources such as this to help keep them a bit safer and remain somewhat healthier. With the proper information and resources available, perhaps society will be able to grasp the situation with a bit of compassion and eventually come to an understanding of the plight of drug addiction and realize this addiction, just as others, deserves to be met with proper care and respect.

    The clean needle vending machine project and all efforts of this kind,with just a bit of acceptance and goodwill have the ability to make an all around positive impact. Imagine if by teaching tolerance, society could eventually learn to leave behind it's needs to pass judgement and ostracize certain factions, to instead stand together in insisting upon proper healthcare and treatment for one and all.
    We might not be there yet - but we truly are closer now than we were yesterday.
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