State Report Calls Needle Exchange a Success
Saturday, October 6, 2012 • 12:46pm
PATERSON, NJ – State health officials have declared the needle exchange program in Paterson and four other New Jersey cities a success.
A report issued Friday said almost 10,000 people in Paterson, Atlantic City, Camden, Jersey City and Newark have participated in the program designed to reduce the risk of HIV and hepatitis.
"This demonstration program has served a hard-to-reach population and at-risk population, successfully helping Intravenous drug users to reduce their chance of contracting and spreading HIV and hepatitis through the use of unsterile needles,'' said Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd in a press release.
Each of the five local programs that are currently participating collaborates with health care facilities and community-based organizations that provide an array of medical and social supports including testing for HIV, hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases, health screening, nutritional counseling, substance abuse treatment and prenatal care, according to the state.
Statewide, more than 2,100 participants in the entered drug treatment, 825 received HIV testing and 14 individuals who tested positive received treatment, the state said. Also, more than 300 women received pregnancy testing and 59 pregnant women were linked to prenatal care and/or drug treatment, according to the report.
In January, Governor Chris Christie signed into law a measure allowing pharmacies to sell syringes over-the-counter without a prescription. As the report notes, "Further evaluation will be necessary to determine the effectiveness of maintaining the current structured syringe exchange program after full implementation."
Here’s the full report.