Needle-exchange programs are effective tools to fight the spread of infectious disease and steer heroin users into treatment, according to Michael Botticelli, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“They’ve been demonstrated to reduce not only infectious disease but also create an opportunity for people to get the care and provide a transition into treatment for people in the community,” he said. The programs also reduce the risk that law enforcement officers will become infected if they are accidentally stuck by a needle, he added.
Botticelli, speaking at an event sponsored by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, also called for mandatory medical education for prescribers to help fight prescription drug abuse, the Associated Press reports. He was invited by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to visit northern Kentucky, which has been especially hard hit by heroin addiction.