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In this article, the author first examines the mechanism by which blood-borne disease is transmitted through sharing of injection equipment. Thereafter, he presents a public health strategy for reducing multi-person use of contaminated injection equipment. This strategy includes: repealing or modifying current laws and regulations making possession and distribution of sterile injection equipment a criminal offense; implementing syringe exchange programs to expand access to new syringes for users of injection drugs; and counseling, education, and treatment targeted to injecting drug users (IDUs), including those in the prison and health care system. The objective of a public health approach is not to encourage or enable IDUs to obtain and use drugs; public health strategies actively seek to reduce drug use due to its profound adverse effects on physical and mental health. Rather, the public health approach seeks to substantially improve health outcomes for IDUs who cannot or will not stop using drugs.

Publication Citation

31 Val. U.L. Rev. 669-700 (1997)