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Do Needle Exchange Programs Help or Hurt Addicts?

Do Needle Exchange Programs Help or Hurt Addicts?

Needle exchange programs and safe injection sites are attempts to reduce harm, giving addicts safer options for using.

The thought behind these programs is that an addict will inject regardless of whether or not their needle is clean, or the environment is safe, putting themselves at risk of blood-borne diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C. So, are safety programs for addicts helping to save lives or aggravating an addiction?

What Are the Benefits of Needle Exchange Programs?

The consensus is that needle exchange programs and safe injection sites are safer for addicts, but they do not exacerbate a person’s addiction. When addiction is in control, a person will inject drugs regardless of the safety of the needle or their surroundings. These programs offer addicts a safer alternative, where they won’t put their lives in danger. Needle exchange programs and safe injection sites help deter overdoses and blood-borne illnesses and they also:

  • Provide Narcan to prevent deadly overdose
  • Connect addicts with addiction treatment centers
  • Allow for safe disposal of used needles to reduce threats to communities
  • Offer screening for HIV/AIDS and other illnesses
  • Provide education about programs at a nearby detox center

Needle exchange programs can diminish these and many other drug use dangers. In fact, syringe exchange programs reduce drug use and people who inject drugs are 5 times more likely to enter a drug addiction treatment program than those who use outside of these exchange programs. [1]

Getting Sober Is the Safest Option

Any form of substance abuse can be dangerous, especially when it involves needles and injections. There are many drug use dangers, and used needles only increase the risks. Harm reduction programs are working to help addicts avoid many dangers, but the safest option is sobriety. If you or someone you love needs help finding sobriety, our facility for drug, alcohol, and heroin addiction treatment can help.

Call 888-280-4763 to learn more about our addiction treatment programs.


  1. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – Reducing Harms from Injection Drug Use
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.