Access to Clean Needles Needed To Prevent Further Spread of Disease in Florida
Sadly, opioid drug use has been on the rise, leaving many communities across the nation to consider other solutions and utilize other resources than those previously employed in order to curb this detrimental epidemic and prevent additional harm to community members.
In South Florida, more specifically in Palm Beach County, those grappling with an addiction to heroin and/or other intravenous drugs can obtain clean needles in order to protect themselves from contracting diseases due to sharing unclean, infected needles with others. And while many criticize this method of preventing disease as one that perpetuates ongoing drug use, the fact of the matter is that it does decrease the risk of contracting diseases like HIV and hepatitis in those who take advantage of this community service.
Infectious Disease Likely to Continue Spreading if Law Does Not Change
Outside of Palm Beach County, other communities are not as fortunate to have such an invaluable resource available. In the South Florida area, which includes Boca Raton, there is an almost five-decade-old law in place that prohibits the acquisition of needles without a prescription from a physician. With this barrier in place, those addicted to drugs and using needles as their route of administration place themselves at an increased risk of exposing themselves to HIV and other blood-borne diseases that can be fatal if left untreated. When this occurs, the areas that have a large population of drug users also become communities in which HIV and hepatitis are more prevalent.
With Change, South Florida Communities Will Benefit Greatly
When the law to limit access to needles to only those who acquired a prescription for them was put in place in the 1970s, it was meant to decrease the use of drugs among those in Boca Raton and the rest of South Florida. As time went on and the AIDS epidemic became more widespread, limiting needles in this way began to prove problematic and the need for change became clear.
Several prominent leaders in the South Florida area recognize the need to revise the law and are working to make beneficial changes so as to protect the health and wellbeing of those who live in this part of the country. By allowing individuals to have access to clean needles, the risk of infection decreases, which can then allow those addicted to substances like heroin to focus on overcoming their addictions. Over time, it is hoped that those who need clean needles will have them and greater focus can be placed on tackling the substance abuse concerns impacting Palm Beach County and the surrounding Florida area.