Is syringe exchange legal?
In Oregon, it is legal for a person over 18 years of age to purchase syringes without a prescription. Hypodermic syringes and needles are exempted from the Oregon drug paraphernalia law (ORS.475.525).
Do syringe exchange programs encourage or initiate drug use?
Syringe exchange programs have existed since the beginning of the HIV epidemic of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s to prevent the spread of HIV among injection drug users. Because programs have been operating since this time, multiple researchers have been able to examine this question. Research results clearly show that it does not lead to an increase in drug use or initiation of drug use. In fact, syringe exchange programs have become vital for substance abuse treatment readiness and referral. In Tacoma, Washington, the syringe exchange program is the single largest source of treatment referrals in the entire county.
What are the benefits of having a syringe exchange program?
Syringe exchange programs work with populations who may not be ready to stop abusing drugs. Research has shown that syringe exchange programs significantly reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS among injection drug users, it achieves safer injection behavior by injection drug users, connects injection drug users to health care services and other social services, promotes entry into and retention in drug addiction treatment, and it reduces the number of improperly discarded needles and syringes in the community.
Public health efforts to reach out with syringe exchange services to those who may not be able or willing to stop injecting drugs is one part of the solution. Our primary mission is to prevent the spread of blood-borne infections such as HIV and hepatitis C. Many government agencies and community-based organizations recommend one-time-only use of sterile as an important strategy to reduce the spread of HIV, hepatitis C and other blood-borne infections. Some of these organizations include: the U.S. Public Health Service, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Prevention Services Task Force, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Research Council, the National Commission on AIDS, the American Medical Association, and many others.