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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
A Strong Endorsement for Clean Needles

September 25, 1995
New York Times (09/25/95) P. A14

The National Academy of Sciences' recent conclusion that needle-exchange programs reduce the spread of HIV should also reduce people's fears that such programs encourage drug use, according to the editors of the New York Times. The academy found no evidence that these programs increase the frequency of drug injection among participants or that they coax others into drug abuse. Indeed, needle-exchange programs frequently help reduce drug use by referring users to drug treatment clinics. The academy urged states that require prescriptions for selling or possessing injection paraphernalia to repeal their laws, but would leave it up to individual communities to determine whether they will create needle-exchange programs. However, the editors note, states and cities where drug addicts account for a significant number of HIV infections should take the academy's findings as a sign to proceed.