By Staff Writer
Individuals who share needles to inject cocaine are at a much greater risk of becoming infected with HIV. However, a needle exchange program in Montreal has helped lower the infection rate among these users, providing them the time they need to seek addiction rehab and reclaim healthy lives.
Researchers from the University of Montreal told the Montreal Gazette that their study of more than 2,000 intravenous drug users in the city showed that HIV infection rates among this population began dropping dramatically following the year 2000, when the needle exchange program went into effect.
Lucie Bruneau, who led the study, told the news source that her findings provide evidence that reaching out to drug users, particularly those who inject hard drugs like cocaine, can produce more positive results than simply locking them up for drug-related crimes.
She added that addiction is a type of illness, in which the user has little control over their actions. Programs like needle exchanges could help individuals safely manage their condition while they are seeking addiction rehab therapy.
Cocaine continues to be a popular drug in the U.S. The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that more than 14 percent of the population has tried it.