reduce the transmission of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The preferred options within the spectrum are abstaining from the injection of drugs and engagement within the drug treatment system. Other public health interventions which will reduce the transmission of blood borne pathogens include: teaching injection equipment sterilization techniques, teaching safer injecting practices, safer sex education and counseling, the provision of HIV literature and the distribution of risk-reducing materials including condoms, dental dams, and bleach kits.

International and U.S. evaluation studies of needle exchange, as an additional method of risk reduction, have not shown an increase in drug use, an increase in injection as a route of drug administration, nor have they shown an increase in contaminated injection equipment in the community. These studies consistently show decrease in equipment sharing, strongly suggesting a decrease in incidence of new infections of blood borne pathogens such as HIV or Hepatitis B. The programs also serve as a point of contact between heretofore alienated drug dependent persons and service providers who can help them improve their health. In fact, the most requested service by needle exchange clients throughout the world is placement in drug treatment programs.

ASAM Position: For these reasons, ASAM recommends that:

  1. Needle/distribution exchange programs be instituted in all communities with injection drug users.

  2. Drug paraphernalia laws be amended to eliminate those statutes outlawing the possession of syringes or needles.

  3. Proper federal agencies be encouraged to sponsor needle exchange programs on a Federal level. (Adopted by ASAM Board of Directors, October 2, 1994.)

Association of Black Psychologists (ABP)

No response was received.

Association of Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA)

The panel received a call on March 16, 1994, to indicate that its query would be an item for the association's board to discuss at its meeting at the end of April 1994. It was indicated that a statement, if any, would be forwarded for our information in May 1994. No statement was received.

Black Psychiatrists of America (BPA)

No response was received.



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