The ONDCP’s pet talks about needle exchange

Over at the Drug Czar’s “blog,” they have crafted an Ask the Expert “interview” with “Doctor” David Murray on needle exchange. This is their own pet doctor who they trot out whenever they want to sound like they have something medical to say.
It’s as bizarre as most of what comes out of the Drug Czar’s office. Though full of verbiage intended to sound erudite, in the end, it makes no sense at all.
Check out this passage, where Murray essentially says that, unless needle exchange actually reduces drug use, it doesn’t matter whether it saves lives.

We are faced with two epidemic diseases that destroy the health of individuals and communities. The first is the spread of blood-borne pathogens such as HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis C through the sharing of contaminated injection equipment or by engaging in high-risk behaviors. The second is the scourge of drug use itself. An effective public health intervention must address both of these epidemics. The evidence is mixed as to whether needle exchange programs actually reduce the transmission of blood-borne pathogens; some studies have argued that they do, others argue that they demonstrably fail. But as to the second epidemic, the evidence is clear that distributing needles to enable continued drug injection does not reduce the continued drug injection. Finally, there is increasingly clear evidence that drug use itself, whether by injection or not, is associated with high-risk behaviors that lead to blood-borne pathogen transmission. The most comprehensive public health solution must be to reduce the incidence and prevalence of drug use.

Of course, I’m not sure why I even get worked up about any of this. I’m guessing that drug policy reformers like me looking for a laugh or something to get worked up about are pretty much the only ones who read Pushing Back.

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