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Clean Needles
      #17597 - 04/26/01 09:53 AM

Hi I need to know if its legal for me ( a 16 year old male in orlando fl) to buy syringes cause i use.....Also i bleach a rigs(syringes) when i cant get a clean one of my own. Can i get diseases from this still?? Please Please Help me!!
this is a email address where you can contact me if you dont write me I wont know what you wrote cause i doubt I'll come back here

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Reged: 04/16/01
Posts: 438
Loc: Boston
Re: Clean Needles new
      #17637 - 04/30/01 02:49 PM

Hey.. I found this article that talks about clean needles, however it dosn't specify age. The one thing it does say is that if you live in Delaware or Kansas it is legal to purchase needles. Hope it helps some.

Prescribing Sterile Needles Is Not Only Beneficial but (Mostly) Legal

Charles Marwick

Washington Physicians need not be afraid to prescribe sterile needles for drug addicts unless they practice in Delaware or Kansas. It's legal and they are encouraged to do it, since there is clear evidence from many studies that access to clean needles reduces the risk of transmitting HIV infection and hepatitis. Moreover, the encounter provides an opportunity for counseling and for treating other medical conditions.

The message that most physicians need not fear legal action if they prescribe sterile needles for drug addicts is the principal finding of a new survey of the legal situation in the 50 US states by the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program. The study, Harm Reduction in the Health Care System: Legal Analyses of Prescribing and Dispensing Sterile Injection Equipment, was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"In the past, physicians who wished to prescribe sterile syringes to drug addicts did not do so in part because of the perception that it would violate state and federal laws aimed at combating drug abuse or result in a malpractice claim. Our analysis shows that, in most places, these concerns are unfounded. It's legal," said Scott Burris, JD, a professor at Beasley School of Law, Temple University, Philadelphia, and the principal author of the study. He spoke at a press conference here announcing the study results.

While physicians can legally prescribe sterile needles in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia and every state except Delaware and Kansas, pharmacists can legally fill that prescription in only 25 states and Puerto Rico. However, said Burris, pharmacists have a "reasonable claim to legality" in another 21 states and the District of Columbia. In four statesDelaware, Kansas, Georgia, and Hawaiiit is clearly illegal to dispense sterile injection equipment. Nevertheless, asserted Burris, "We could start prescribing needles today and reach 97% of those at risk of acquiring HIV through needle injection."

Half of all new HIV infections in the United States are related to the use of illicit injection drugs, and nine surveys have demonstrated that providing safe injection equipment prevents the spread of disease, said Peter Lurie, MD, speaking at the press conference. Lurie, a coauthor of the study, is deputy director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, the Washington, DC, public interest organization.

Josiah D. Rich, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Brown University School of Medicine, gave press conference attendees an example of how the sterile needle prescription process works. "Since our program began a little more than a year ago, our clinic at the Miriam Hospital has prescribed 30,000 syringes to over 250,000 drug users," he said.

"My initial reaction to the program was that it was providing access to sterile syringes and hence was reducing the risk of disease. I say that injecting drugs is dangerous, so the best thing is to stop. But if you're not going to stop, then the next best thing is to make sure you have a clean needle to do it with. But I found this was just the tip of the iceberg.

"A very exciting part [of our program] is the relationship I develop with these patients. Remember, drug addicts are engaging in an activity that is highly stigmatized in our society. It's something they have to hide. Asking for a clean syringe is tantamount to admitting you are a drug user. But once they realize there are no negative consequences to admitting their addiction, this opens the door to a discussion about their drug use. They all tell me that being able to come here and talk about their addiction has helped," Rich said.

The American Medical Association is on record as approving the approach. At its June meeting, the association adopted a resolution that supported "the ability of physicians to prescribe syringes and needles to patients with injection drug addiction in conjunction with addiction counseling in order to help prevent the transmission of contagious diseases."

Harm Reduction in the Health Care System: Legal Analyses of Prescribing and Dispensing Sterile Injection Equipment has been published (Ann Intern Med. 2000;133:218-226), and a state-by-state analysis is available online at

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