The Art of Resistance
e. 417 - Prison Health Is Public Health: Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network Fighting For Needle Exchange Programs In CDN Jails
The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, along with a former prisoner and three other HIV organizations, is suing the federal government over its failure to provide prisoners with easy, confidential, and effective access to needle and syringe programs.
For more than 25 years, needle and syringe programs have been available in prison systems around the world. Studies of these programs show that they:
- reduce needle-sharing and the risk of HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) infection;
- do not lead to increased drug use or injecting;
- reduce the risk of drug overdoses and other harms to prisoners’ health;
- facilitate referrals of users to drug treatment programs; and
- have not resulted in needles or syringes being used as weapons against staff or other prisoners.
Because of the scarcity of sterile injection equipment in prison, people who inject drugs behind bars are more likely to share and re-use injection equipment than people in the community. A prison needle and syringe program protects the health and lives of all Canadians. Simply put, prison health is public health.