ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One program that neighbors bring up repeatedly as failing to address their concerns is the needle exchange program run by Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless since 1988.
If the exchange program were successful, neighbors ask, why are there so many discarded syringes lying around? On the streets, in the park, in people’s yards and on sidewalks?
Further, they wonder why AHCH doesn’t mandate that participants enroll in treatment programs to wean themselves off of drugs so that they no longer need needles.
Jennie Metzler, executive director of Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, says the purpose of the program is not about getting people off drugs; rather, it’s intended to “prevent the spread of infectious diseases, like HIV or Hepatitis C, related to using, re-using and sharing needles.”
Support your local Albuquerque Journal & Rick Nathanson SUBSCRIBE NOW cancel anytime