Overdose Deaths Rose During The War On Drugs, But Efforts To Reduce Them Face Backlash - NPR
Jun 19, 2021 1 min, 25 secs

"That fentanyl is no joke," Damron said, referring to the deadly synthetic opioid that now contaminates much of the illegal drug supply in the United States.

"Every time we stick a needle in our arm, we're taking a 50-50 chance.

In parts of the world, including Australia, Canada and Portugal, communities are experimenting with public health approaches that include providing active drug users with a safe supply of their drug of choice.

drug supply is so deadly that people with addiction be offered this kind of harm reduction service.

devastated by addiction have scaled back or eliminated harm reduction efforts.

Local leaders in Scott County, Ind., voted to shut down a needle exchange program that helped slow a major HIV outbreak among drug users.

"Communities that were on the fence [about harm reduction programs] have been knocked off the fence in the wrong direction," Kilkenny said.

Shani Damron, who lives with addiction on the streets of Huntington, W.Va., says she has no access to a safe drug supply and contracted HIV after sharing a contaminated needle.

"Every time we stick a needle in our arm, we're taking a 50-50 chance," she says.

Shani Damron, who lives with addiction on the streets of Huntington, W.Va., says she has no access to a safe drug supply and contracted HIV after sharing a contaminated needle.

"Every time we stick a needle in our arm, we're taking a 50-50 chance," she says.

Keith Humphreys, an addiction researcher at Stanford University, said it also appears many doctors are quietly keeping patients safe by prescribing opioids to those addicted to pain pills

But harm reduction advocates say most Americans don't have access to that kind of treatment or safe drug supply


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