View Full Version : Needle Exchange

10-26-2004, 11:14 AM
I'm curious as to how this forum's members feel about needle exchange as a method to reduce the levels of HIV in Newark. Recently, in the news, there have been several stories about the high STD transmission rate in Newark. Of course, the most insidious of these is HIV/AIDS infection. Drug addicts who continue to use dirty needles are part of the problem, especially when it comes to passing the infection on to their partners--especially a drug addicted man to a woman. Such a woman may, in turn, get pregnant and pass the disease on to her children.

I am a strong advocate of needle exchange. It has proved successful time and again here in this country as well as internationally.

However, Ronald Rice Sr., one who would be mayor in 2006, is quoted in the Courier News as being against needle exchange.

People, no one wants to feel that he/she is aiding and abetting addicts in their get-high. Heck, if one wanted to be truly cynical (say in a religious fundamentalist style), that person could say that the addicts get what they deserve if they "choose" to shoot drugs. However, HIV/AIDS affects A LOT of innocent people. I'd rather give addicts clean needles in hopes that they will not spread this disease to the unknowing and innnocent or to themselves. HIV/AIDS is devestating the black community.

It seems that somone who purports to want to be mayor of a city with a huge STD problem--of which HIV is no small part--would be a little more nuanced in both his thinking and approach to stem this plague in our time.


10-26-2004, 11:21 AM
I feel that the cost should be the overriding factor of this program. I don't advocate drugs but addicts are going to do them until such time as they have had enough (and decide to get clean) or die. However, if they can use clean needles at say $1.00 per needle, it is better than the approx $50.00 per pill of AZT.

I'm just throwing numbers and by no means know the exact cost of these things other than needles are pretty cheap and HIV drugs are more expensive here than anywhere else in the world.

10-26-2004, 01:52 PM
I 100% support needle exchange. A drug addict is already a very ill person; no need to make him/her even sicker. The needle exchange program could also help to keep addicts closer to social workers who they can, at least, have a dialogue with.

10-26-2004, 02:36 PM
AGREE 100%. It is a shame that the we have to decide issues like this but it is safer all around.


10-26-2004, 02:44 PM
At least with the needle exchanges, you get a chance to interact with the junkies and it gives you opportunities to get them treatment. The current system just leaves them on a path of self-destruction. I understand what Ron is trying to do, but he knows that the State isn't going to cough up more $$$ for treatment. The state is broke. It's just that simple.

10-26-2004, 03:22 PM
I grudgingly support needle exchange as studies have shown (albeit not without contradictory evidence) that it does reduce the number of AIDS infections generally. But it is definitely like making a deal with the devil in that the programs supports one bad and deadly epidemic to lower another bad and deadly epidemic.

But until our leaders in Newark, in NJ and in the US understand the importance of interdiction and detox beds with a social service tracking and support net, drug use will continue and grow (heroin is back too, my friends) and with it dirty needles that will increase the AIDS population.

Reluctantly, I think we all need to support the legislation like Sen. Nia Gill states.

10-26-2004, 04:58 PM
But for the sake of the kids that these addicts are producing. As innocent as they are, they have no say as to whether they want to be a junkie or to be sick.

I had the unfortunate oppotunity some years ago to visit the St. Chris Children's Hospital in Philly where we saw newborn crack babies. The look on their faces is enough to drive a person to kill. it was so hurtful especially when you think of the cause of it.

A quick high today can definitely cause a lifetime of pain tomorrow.

I'm sure a lot of people see this same thing in this city and it is ashame because there is no simple cut and dry solution for this problem...

it can definitely be frustrating and that is one of the main reasons why I am in favor of the needle program....

Before the thread I didn't even think about the amount of exposure they would be having with a social worker...Definitely a plus and I think a step in the right direction.

10-26-2004, 05:06 PM
I'm against needle exchange programs. I don't think the government should be in the business of directly supporting a drug habit, despite the perceived (and not really proven) benefit of reducing HIV infections. I think 5's point is well taken about the connection that the exchange can be used for, but the fact that there is no treatment plan along with the exchange program makes this whole exercise academic. If we are going to eliminate the spread of HIV via needles, spend the money on drug treatment programs that work. Otherwise, use the money to by cops better bullet proof vests and weaponary to shoot the deranged drug users that will eventually overrun our society.

10-26-2004, 05:09 PM
Seems like it is a done deal...


I can definitely understand your point Doofus, but I think something is better than nothing...

By the way there are tons of things that this state spends money on rather recklessly. I don't think that this is that bad compared to the others...

10-26-2004, 05:21 PM

Declares Public Health Emergency for Towns with High Rates of HIV Infection Due to Injection Drug Use

Governor James E. McGreevey today signed an executive order declaring a public health emergency in cities with high rates of HIV infection due to injection drug use. The declaration would allow these communities—with municipal support--to start needle exchange programs to reduce the spread of HIV infection.

Of those living with AIDS in the U.S., New Jersey has the highest proportion of cases who are women. It also has the third highest pediatric HIV rate, the fifth highest adult HIV rate and a rate of infection among injection drug users that is significantly above the national average.

“Today, there are New Jersey communities facing a public health crisis that cannot wait,” said Governor McGreevey. “With New Jersey ranking fifth highest in the nation in AIDS cases, HIV/AIDS has ravaged too many in our state. While communities with a high incidence of injection drug use are being devastated by this disease, it is not just the user who is affected. Children in these communities are quite simply, dying for our help. Research demonstrates that needle exchange programs are a powerful weapon against the spread of HIV/AIDS. Yet in the face of that research, New Jersey is one of only two states that provide no access to sterile syringes to prevent the spread of the disease. That changes today.”

Under Governor McGreevey’s executive order, cities with the highest prevalence of HIV due to injection drug use would be eligible to start a needle exchange program if they meet two additional criteria: Municipal commitment and an ability to demonstrate to the state Department of Health and Senior Services that participants in the program would have sufficient access to health care facilities, social services and drug treatment.

“It has been convincingly demonstrated that expanding access to clean syringes decreases the sharing of needles and thereby decreases the transmission of blood-borne diseases,’’ said Clifton R. Lacy, M.D., commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services.

“Syringe exchange programs also provide an important gateway to engage drug users into health and social services and into drug treatment. Regular visits to exchange sites allow increased opportunity for harm reduction, education, counseling and referral,’’ said Lacy.

Baltimore, MD instituted one of the first needle exchange programs in the nation in 1994. Results there showed incidence of HIV among injecting drug users declined 12% per year in the first four years of the program. And a 2003 study in the International Journal of Drug Policy evaluated 99 cities and their results showed HIV prevalence decreased 29% in cities with syringe exchange programs and actually increased 5% in cities without programs.

In New Jersey, infection by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has resulted in 64,219 cumulative cases of HIV/AIDS as of June 30, 2004. Approximately 51 percent of those cases can be attributed to injection drug users, their partners or their children.

Further statistics reinforce the need for immediate action in the state:

Of those living with AIDS in the U.S., New Jersey has the highest proportion of cases who are women.
Third highest rate of pediatric AIDS cases.
New Jersey ranks fifth highest in the nation in AIDS cases behind New York, California, Florida and Texas, respectively.
Nearly 32,000 people have died of AIDS/HIV in New Jersey alone since the beginning of the pandemic.
This disease has had an especially devastating impact on New Jersey’s minority communities.
Minorities account for 75 percent of the cumulative HIV/AIDS cases and the disparity is growing.
Eighty-six percent of the children living with HIV/AIDS are minorities.
Thirty-five percent of those living with HIV/AIDS are women. Four of every five of these women are women of color.
Sixty-one percent of the state’s pediatric HIV/AIDS cases can be attributed to needle sharing on the part of the child’s mother or her partner.
Until today, New Jersey remained one of only a dozen states that have yet to recognize the life-saving benefits of a syringe exchange program.
And one of only four states that do not permit adults to buy needles at pharmacies without prescriptions.

10-26-2004, 05:22 PM

WHEREAS, in New Jersey, infection by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has resulted in 64,219 cumulative cases of HIV/AIDS as of June 30, 2004, and nearly 32,000 people have died of this disease in New Jersey alone since the beginning of this pandemic; and

WHEREAS, approximately 51 percent of those cases can be attributed to injecting drug users, their partners or their children; and

WHEREAS, in comparison with other states in the nation, New Jersey has the highest rate of HIV infection among women, the third-highest pediatric HIV rate, the fifth-highest adult HIV rate and a rate of injection-related HIV infection that significantly exceeds the national average; and

WHEREAS, HIV has had an especially devastating impact on New Jersey’s minority communities, in that (1) minorities account for 75 percent of the cumulative HIV/AIDS cases and the disparity is growing; (2) 86 percent of the children living with HIV/AIDS are minorities; and (3) women account for 35 percent of those persons living with the disease, and four of every five of those women are women of color; and

WHEREAS, over 1 million people in the United States are frequent intravenous drug users at a cost to society in health care, lost productivity, accidents and crime that exceeds $50 billion annually; and

WHEREAS, 61 percent of the State’s pediatric HIV/AIDS cases can be attributed to needle sharing on the part of the child’s mother or her partner; and

WHEREAS, sterile syringe access programs are designed to prevent the spread of HIV, Hepatitis C and other blood-borne pathogens, and to provide a bridge to drug abuse treatment and other social services for drug users; and

WHEREAS, sterile syringe access programs have been proven effective in reducing the spread of HIV, Hepatitis C and other blood-borne pathogens without increasing drug abuse or other adverse social impacts; and

WHEREAS, scientific, medical and professional agencies and organizations that have studied the issue, including the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the United States Conference of Mayors, have found sterile syringe access programs to be effective in reducing the transmission of HIV; and

WHEREAS, New Jersey remains one of only two states nationwide that do not provide access to sterile syringes in order to prevent the spread of disease; and

WHEREAS, the lack of sterile syringe access programs in certain New Jersey municipalities creates a threat to the health, safety and welfare of New Jersey residents, one that is too large in scope and unusual in type to be handled by regular municipal operating services, and one that poses a compelling need to act to protect the public interest;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JAMES E. McGREEVEY, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby DECLARE a State of Emergency and ORDER and DIRECT as follows:

1. A State of Emergency exists with regard to the transmission of HIV/AIDS through intravenous drug use.

2. I invoke such emergency powers as are conferred upon me by the Laws of 1942, c. 251 (N.J.S.A. App. A:9-30 et seq.) and all amendments and supplements thereto.

3. To combat this Emergency, the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services is authorized to adopt guidelines for the establishment of a sterile syringe access program to provide for the exchange of hypodermic syringes and needles in up to three municipalities in New Jersey that have a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS cases attributable to intravenous drug use. In order to establish a sterile syringe access program, the eligible municipality shall enact an ordinance of its governing body establishing or authorizing establishment of a sterile syringe access program at a fixed location or through a mobile access component. The municipality may operate the program directly or contract with a hospital, a health care facility, a federally qualified health center, a public health agency, a substance abuse treatment program, an AIDS service organization or another non-profit entity designated by the municipality.

4. The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services shall have the authority to review and approve the request of the eligible municipality to establish the sterile syringe access program, based on the proposal’s compliance with existing health-related guidelines. The Commissioner shall ensure that the sterile syringe access program proposed by the municipality is linked, to the maximum extent practicable, to such health care facilities and programs capable of providing appropriate health care services, including mental health, dental care, substance abuse treatment, housing assistance, employment counseling and education counseling to participants in any such program.

5. The Commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services shall have full authority to adopt such rules, regulations, guidelines, orders and directives as he shall deem necessary to implement such programs.

6. It shall be the duty of every person in this State or doing business in this State, and the members of each and every governing body, and of each and every official, agent or employee of every political subdivision in this State and of each member of all other governmental bodies, agencies and authorities in this State, to cooperate fully in all matters concerning this Emergency.

7. Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this Order or shall impede or interfere with any action ordered or taken pursuant to this Order, shall be subject to the penalties provided by law under N.J.S.A. App. A:9-49.

10-26-2004, 05:25 PM
I see McG is going out with a bang. This is good stuff. When I'm walking down S. Orange Ave, I'll make sure that I mention this new program to the local junkies. They're going to be thrilled. Will there be special color design needles too?

10-26-2004, 05:36 PM
Do you think the junkies are really going to go through with this program. What if their paranoia kicks in and they think that it is all a setup...

What happens when one goes to get a clean needle and is approached by a social worker...He get apprehensive as he feels uncomfortable and just wants to get high and get the hell outta there.

He doesn't like the idea of the social worker part of it and goes and tell all he's junkie buddies about the social worker.

They come to a understanding that the older way of getting high is easier and less of a hassle...

What then????

Miss Tam-Tam
10-26-2004, 11:44 PM
In a perfect world junkies shoot up and the rest of us go home, insulated from the horrific spector of drug addiction. But in this world junkies shoot up and prostitute themselves for drug money. STD infection is transmitted across the class divide as any cop'll tell you from rounding up the drug hooker johns. I support clean needle exchange.

10-27-2004, 10:02 AM
Excellant Point...

Now these same Johns go to a club on Friday Night and go kick game to your sister, your mother, hell your brother....Just like that...it just hit home.. :mad:

10-27-2004, 02:05 PM
I was just wondering if Newark was going to do some sort of needle promo for the local junkies. Perhaps a few billboards that with a big needle and the words, "Get Your Needle On."

Maybe Skeeter1, who has made many pro-Junkie comments on this forum, can also do a public access commericial.

BTW - if that security guard is still working at the muni court (where you have to sit for two hours), she can be the first to get the new supply.


10-27-2004, 02:38 PM
That would mean an increase in the unemployment rate....
Good thing for Mr.Bush since he won't be in office then....:D

10-27-2004, 04:38 PM
will Newark be the third city that was mentioned in the Executive Order. On the news this morning they said that 3 cities will be allowed to participate in the needle exchange program: Camdem, Atlantic City and an as yet un-named 3rd city.

It's remarkable that there is a possibility that Newark, as NJ's largest city, may be left out of this program also.

10-27-2004, 09:21 PM
In a perfect world junkies shoot up and the rest of us go home, insulated from the horrific spector of drug addiction. But in this world junkies shoot up and prostitute themselves for drug money. STD infection is transmitted across the class divide as any cop'll tell you from rounding up the drug hooker johns. I support clean needle exchange.

I couldn't agree more! Quite frankly, this whole needle exchange concept is extremely unfortunate (almost to the point where it might seem a bit ridiculous!). But like BlackRob said, it is something. I do understand Doofus' point. But the more interraction and contact that a junkie has to have with a social worker, the BETTER.

I can see how this issue kind of creates the passing out condoms in schools type of reactions .....it may seem as though you're promoting one type of activity--of which people are going to engage in-- in order to prevent another. :(