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A comprehensive historical analysis of United States national public policy on sterile syringe exchange

Doan, Tran (2013) A comprehensive historical analysis of United States national public policy on sterile syringe exchange. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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The U.S. ban on federal funding for syringe exchange programs as a policy counters what science dictates as a sensible and cost-effective public health strategy. Plenty of peer-reviewed publications, reports from international and government agencies, newspaper articles, advocacy groups blog entries, and some politicians themselves have attested to the great divide between science and politics, and its enormous costs to lives and public health. However, something that has yet to be attempted until now is a comprehensive historical analysis of the U.S. national policy on syringe exchange. The goal is to understand the deeply-rooted political opposition to syringe exchange for the ultimate goal of actively confronting it and effectively advocating to center policies on evidence, rather than personal morals. Studies after studies verify that providing intravenous drug users with access to sterile syringes and needles profoundly reduces the risk and spread of HIV, viral hepatitis, and even death. Globally and domestically, the science, public health, and human rights communities recognize that exchanging dirty syringes for sterile ones saves both human lives and money without perpetuating drug use or crime rates. In spite of this, the science and political communities in the United States are at a divide in regards to syringe exchange policies ever since the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1980’s. In fact, the United States is the only country in the world to prohibit government funding for syringe exchange, clearly contrary to effective policy recommendations. The stringent anti-drug political and moral stance is perhaps rooted in President Nixon’s declaration of the U.S. “War on Drugs” in a 1971 speech. Future research and analyses are necessary to understand how science could be best harnessed to influence politics and public opinion (for instance, studying social interactions and communication streams between scientists and policy-makers).


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Doan, Tran
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKingsley, Lawrencekingsley@pitt.eduKINGSLEYUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberDunn, Williamdunn@pitt.eduDUNNUNSPECIFIED
Date: 20 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 11 May 2015 14:25
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2022 10:55


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