The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
  • Email Email
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary


New Jersey: Praise for Drug Program

March 18, 2009

Since it began more than a year ago, Paterson's needle-exchange program has helped more than 150 injection drug users seek treatment and cut down on drug-related public nuisances, city and NEP officials said. Three days a week, IDUs can visit the NEP and swap out used needles for sterile ones in order to prevent blood-borne infections.

"All of Broadway was an active spot for [IDUs], but now we don't see that anymore," said Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres. The NEP has helped keep dirty needles, IDUs, and sex workers off the streets, he added.

"If you look at the number of people served, which is over 500, and then you figure out how many times a day they would shoot up, that is thousands of times we have prevented the spread of deadly infections," said Karen Walker, director of HIV services for the Paterson Counseling Center, which jointly runs the NEP with the Well of Hope.

NEP clients come from many surrounding jurisdictions, and six arrests have been made in other municipalities for carrying drug paraphernalia, even when IDUs showed their city of Paterson Syringe Access Program identification cards, which state that users have a right to carry the needles. In all six cases, charges were eventually dropped.

In 2007, the Legislature approved pilot NEPs for four cities. The state Department of Human Services provided $10 million to the cities to establish mobile treatment units. But lack of direct state funding of the NEPs is an obstacle to reaching more IDUs, officials with the Paterson exchange said.

In May, the state Department of Health and Senior Services will present to the Legislature and governor first-year results of a study to determine the efficacy of the NEPs in preventing blood-borne infections. At Paterson's NEP, clients are regularly surveyed anonymously about their risk behaviors and asked how many other IDUs they might be providing with clean needles.

Back to other news for March 2009

Adapted from:
The Record (Bergen County)
03.12.2009; Meredith Mandell

  • Email Email
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Ask Our Expert, David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., About Substance Use and HIV
Needle Exchange & HIV/AIDS: New Jersey