Epidemiologic evidence documents that hepatitis C (HCV), HIV and various bacteria is present on drug-preparation equipment. Therefore, sharing drug use equipment increases the risk of viral and bacterial transmission. By providing clean, sterile equipment to users, in the quantity they desire, will help reduce negative health outcomes that can be associated with drug use. Needle Syringe Programs have demonstrated that they reduce HCV and HIV transmission among injection drug users and are cost effective public health programs1, 2. Additionally, research conducted at the University of Ottawa1, revealed that the distribution of additional harm reduction supplies through the OHRDP was associated with:
From both an economic and human perspective, harm reduction programs are cost effective. Harm reduction programs are less expensive than the potential medical care costs, drug treatment and legal fees that would be necessary without the existence of such harm reduction interventions. Harm reduction programs have shown to reduce crime, making communities safer and reducing the amount of funds spent on court and prison costs.5
Research shows that harm reduction programs and practices can3:
Studies have proven that harm reduction interventions do not increase drug use, do not negatively impact drug treatment, and do not increase injection equipment disposal in public places4.