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The City of Racine Health Department operates a Needle Exchange Program (NEP) for residents of Racine and surrounding communities.
Needle exchanges are public health programs for people who inject drugs (PWID). It is an important component of a comprehensive set of programs designed to reduce the spread of HIV and other blood-borne injections among people who use injection drugs, their families, and the community.
Needle exchange programs provide new, sterile syringes in exchange for used, dirty syringes. They also help get drug users into drug treatment programs and other health care. Other services they provide include: testing for infections to which drug users are prone, including HIV and Hepatitis; providing information about available treatment options; education about harms associated with drug use and how to minimize them; and safe disposal methods for contaminated equipment.
There are likely 2,000 PWID living in Racine County. A needle exchange is the most effective strategy available to prevent HIV in members of this population who are not in drug treatment. It also protects non-injecting family members and sex partners. Without a vaccine or a cure, prevention is the only tool we have to control the spread of HIV.
The City of Racine Health Department provides the needle exchange for numerous reasons:
1. Needle exchanges reduce blood-borne diseases in our communities, without increasing the rate of drug use. Several studies have shown compelling evidence that needle exchange programs decrease HIV and Hepatitis transmission, but do not increase injection drug use.1
2. Preventing HIV injection in people who inject drugs also prevents HIV in women and newborn children. Many women are at risk for HIV because of their own injection drug use or because they are sexual partners of injection drug users.
3. By working with people who inject drugs, help can be provided to get them into drug treatment programs.
4. Needle exchanges promote a pragmatic, public health-driven approach to substance abuse and addiction, while also respecting, valuing, and prioritizing the human rights and dignity of people who use drugs.
5. The Health Department safely disposes of all contaminated syringes turned in at the exchange. This reduces the number of discarded syringes in our bus stops, yards, parks, and playgrounds, and on our sidewalks and beaches. The goal is to get used syringes out of circulation as quickly as possible. The longer a syringe remains in circulation, the more opportunities there are for that syringe to pass on a blood-borne disease.
1. Source: Wodak A, Cooney A (2006). Do Needle Syringe Programs Reduce HIV Infection Among Injecting Drug Users: A Comprehensive Review of the International Evidence. Journal of Substance Use & Misuse, 41:777-813.
Yes. HIV infection has been shown to increase nearly 6% annually, on average, in cities that do not have a needle exchange program. In contrast, HIV declined approximately 6% annually among PWID in cities that offer exchange programs.2
2. Source: Hurley, SF, Jolley, DJ, Kalidor, JM (1997). Effectiveness of needle-exchange programmes for prevention of HIV infection. The Lancet, 348:987-991.
Supplies for the City of Racine Health Department Needle Exchange Program are provided by the Aids Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW), which operates needle exchanges throughout the state. ARCW is supported by a mix grant money and private donations to the organization.
Location: Racine City Hall
730 Washington Avenue
Room 4, Lower Level
Racine, WI 53403
Hours:Monday to Friday, 8:00 - 11:55am & 1:00 - 4:55pm
See the video below for some little known facts about heroin and other opiate drugs:
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