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Drug exchange programmes can increase needle use

The Irish Examiner (October 6) noted that incidences of hepatitis and HIV reduced following the introduction of needle exchange programmes for drug addicts in Cork. This pattern is to be expected in areas of high drug-user density.

The prevalence of injecting increased among drug addicts, following the previous introduction of HSE-sponsored needle exchanges, in Carlow. Smokers of opiates turned to injecting because needles were more easily obtainable.

Caution is needed in the introduction of these services.

Dr. Patrick Troy

Ardmore

Strawberry Beds

Dublin 20


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