The Impact of Syringe and Needle Exchange Programs on Drug Use Rates in the United States
Despite a wealth of research evidence indicating the benefits of syringe and needle exchange programs (SNEPs) in reducing the transmission of blood-borne disease and drug use, the decades-old ban on the use of federal funding for these programs currently remains in place. This study utilizes data from the 1992-2010 Treatment Episode Data Set for annual admissions to substance abuse treatment facilities (TEDS-A) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Area Resource File to analyze the relationship between drug use and access to SNEPs at the Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA) level. After controlling for fixed effects for CBSAs and years; CBSA characteristics such as income, age, education, gender, race and poverty and unemployment rates; and substance abuse treatment client characteristics such as mental illness diagnoses, the models indicate that additional years of SNEP operation are associated with decreases in the rates of injection drug use among drug users and the general population, as well as decreases in overall drug use.
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