Australia: Demand Drives Needle Exchange Need
April 16, 2012
The Western Australia Substance Users Association has opened the region's first permanent needle-exchange facility. WASUA said the site, located in Bunbury, was launched due to high demand: The organization's van-based needle-exchange program distributed more than 200,000 clean needles in the region during the past year. NEPs have played a vital role in helping prevent the spread of blood-borne illnesses in Australia, according to Paul Dessaur of WASUA. "In Australia, for instance, the rate of HIV amongst injecting drug users is less than 1 percent, and that is unheard of, and it's purely because we introduced these programs way back in 1986," he said. More people are accessing the NEP now that it has a fixed location, Dessaur said. "More than 33 percent of the people who visited the site in the last two weeks are actually new to the service," he said. For more information, visit www.wasua.com.au/.
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