An ongoing harmful issue distressing those choosing to administer drugs is the perspective of proliferating blood pathogens including HIV, AIDS, and liver-related Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, all of which are exceptionally life-threatening. These illnesses, classified as viruses, are transferred via the reusing of needles and other unsanitary practices related to illegal drug usage. Statistically, based on location and time period, the range of reported cases dealing with these diseases stemming from narcotic use varies widely.
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For instance, at the beginning of the 1990s, a sizeable detoxification project in New York City found that more than 50 percent of all the addicts administering drugs via needle transfusion were tested HIV-positive. Through the brilliant strategy of implementing edification initiatives and practical syringe interchange solutions, the rate steadily dropped by more than 10 percent (Hart & Ksir, 2014). However, in the modern societal culture, the transmission of HIV is more commonly found to happen via sexual intercourse rather than sharing of syringes while using narcotics.
The pernicious trend correlated with the narcotic epidemic is not due to the actual effect of the substance, but the irresponsible allocation of needles. No matter what substance is used or where the injection is made, into the vein or muscle, the consequences stay the same. On an individual basis, an addict may choose to make 1000 infusions a year, which correlates to a substantial number of syringes. Such a huge supply is most likely not readily available.
Numerous states and urban centers have developed legislation making it illegal to obtain pharmaceutical supplies, such as syringes, without a prescription (Hart & Ksir, 2014). Consequently, there is a deficit of hygienic and sterile medical instruments. This dramatically increases the chance that needles will be reused amongst several people for many reasons, including financial, lack of proper social education, and avoiding persecution under law.
One overwhelmingly efficient solution was the implementation of a syringe trade-in system, which allows individuals to receive uncontaminated syringes in exchange for used ones, no matter the purpose. However, there is a moral dilemma in such procedures, as per U.S. Congress, for the exchange may encourage the continuation of illegal drug usage amongst participants. While the U.S. Congress does not provide federal funding for any such policy, local governments on both city and state levels choose to finance the related social programs and enterprises. This concept has been implemented successfully in various other nations as well.
According to empirical evidence, when given the opportunity, people partaking in narcotics will increase the use of sterile needles given through the exchange program. As a result, the rates of syringe reuse drop significantly and so do infection rates, statistically speaking. Therefore, any funding invested into social assistance such as this, more than recoup their costs in the long-term perspective. Based on data from 2008, in the past 20 years, the occurrence of arising IV infections that were linked to intravenous narcotic use has dropped by 80 percent (Hart & Ksir, 2014).
Authors of these statistics indicated that intravenous drug addicts have been using sterile needles attained from drugstores and through syringe exchange programs, thus, severely limiting the number of people reusing the needle, if shared at all. As a result, due to positive evidence correlating syringe exchange programs to lower infection rates, the U.S. Congress enacted financing in 2009. This progress came after a ban on federal funding for such policies for more than 20 years (Hart & Ksir, 2014).
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Hart, C., & Ksir, C. (2014). Drugs, society, and human behavior. New York City, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.