While opponents of harm reduction initiatives have long cited numerous reasons as to why such services are indeed causing harm rather than actually reducing it, research has shown that these programs are in fact leaving a lasting positive impact on the communities and drug users that implement them.
Data from Canadian studies has shown that the percentages of people who inject drugs with a used needle have varied from just under 9%, up to 27%. Unfortunately, needles are far from the only item being reused or shared.
Cookers, filters, sterile water, ascorbic acid and tourniquets are among some of the other popular items that are being used on more than one occasion and/or shared amongst the sexual partners, family and friends of intravenous drug users.
While advocates of harm reduction initiatives have long cited the critical need for the distribution of clean, sterile supplies to intravenous drug users; educating and informing users regarding the dangerous practice of supply sharing, as well as its risks is crucial in order to prevent the further spread of communicable diseases and infection.
When it comes to IV drug use, clean and sterile syringes are an absolute must. While they are usually fairly accessible, there is still the very big problem of syringe reuse amongst intravenous drug users. Whether the needle exchange is closed, its outside pharmacy business hours, or for whatever reason clean syringes aren't accessible; almost every IV drug user has encountered the situation where they are forced to make a very risky decision when it comes to their health. Reuse an old syringe, or wait to do the hit? Unfortunately, many will make the dangerous choice of reuse, and sadly there is certainly no shortage of articles and instructables online claiming effective and safe methods to reuse syringes. Spoiler alert: Reuse of syringes is far from safe, nor is it a good idea. Ever.
By K. Lanktree
- Freelance Writer -
- Blog Mistress -
- Former IV Drug User -
- Methadone Patient -
- Lover of all things Harm Reduction -
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