The Washinton Post has an article on an outbreak of HIV in Austin, Scott County, Indianna. Linked to IV drug use of prescription painkillers. And the early warning signs were there…and ignored. Obvious rampand drug use/addiction. Overdoses. A rise in Hepatitis C and other blood borne diseases from sharing needles.
But of course, the Republican governor and legislature refused the one simple step that could have helped prevent all of this- legalizing needle exchanges. Simply admitting the reality that people are, and would continue to use IV drugs, and providing access to clean needles to reduce the harm to themselves and others.
So now they are talking about allowing needle exchanges- but only in that county. Ignoring the fact that the very same drug problem- and the early warning signs of the serious problems that come with it, exist elsewhere in the state.
And while I hate to bring politics into it, I don’t feel that I can not. Because while drug use and addiction occur everywhere, the rise of opiate/opoid addiction has centered largely in the red states. States that in large part due to republican policies lead the nation in poverty- which is a driver of such addictions. And because of republican policies, it is overwhelmingly red states that have become the main supplier of prescription opoids. And again, because of republican policies, these same states tend to lack much in the way of treatment options, and tend to completely lack, indeed tend to outlaw, the very harm reduction practices that can mitigate many of the problems that come along with such addictions.