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The "Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP)" was established by New York's Public Health Statutes to increase syringe access and disposal among intravenous drug users (Crawford et al., 2013). Syringe exchange programs are public health interventions that assist intravenous drug users in legally obtaining sterile needles and associated paraphernalia at low or no cost (Crawford et al., 2013). The program allows persons over the age of eighteen to lawfully access and possess hypodermic needles and syringes from qualified providers without a medical prescription. The law further requires the needles and syringes to have a safety insert which details pertinent issues such as the dangers of injecting oneself, the risk of infection, correct use and safe disposal, etc. Further, eligible providers are expected safely dispose of the used needles and syringes in the manner stipulated for regulated medical wastes. The primary purpose of the laws and regulation governing was to authorize a program which was aimed at reducing the risk of HIV and other blood-borne conditions among IV drug users who are mainly young adults (Crawford et al., 2013).
Provision of sterile needles, through the authorization of the program by the law, is remarkable for reducing the transmission of HIV and other blood-borne pathogens such as hepatitis B virus which are transmitted through sharing of infected needles (Crawford et al., 2013). Besides, through the enhanced safe disposal of used needles, the community is protected from accidental pricks which can further predispose them to diseases. The safety insert inside the provided needles provides the users with extra information for instance about formal institutional systems where they can be helped to manage their addiction tendencies besides other help (Crawford et al., 2013).
Crawford, N. D., Amesty, S., Rivera, A. V., Harripersaud, K., Turner, A., & Fuller, C. M. (2013). Randomized, community-based pharmacy intervention to expand services beyond the sale of sterile syringes to injection drug users in pharmacies in New York City. American journal of public health, 103(9), 1579-1582.
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