Are Syringe Exchange Programs Helpful or Harmful? New Evidence in the Wake of the Opioid Epidemic

67 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2019

See all articles by Analisa Packham

Analisa Packham

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 2019

Abstract

In light of the recent opioid crisis, many public health entities have called for an expansion in syringe exchange programs (SEPs), which provide access to sterile syringes and facilitate safe needle disposal for injection drug users. This paper investigates the effects of recent SEP openings on HIV diagnoses and drug-related overdoses in the wake of the opioid crisis. I find that SEP openings decrease HIV diagnoses by up to 18.2 percent. However, I present new evidence that SEPs increase rates of opioid-related mortality and hospitalizations, suggesting that needle exchanges alone may be less effective than other interventions at stimulating recovery.

Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at www.nber.org.

Suggested Citation

Packham, Analisa, Are Syringe Exchange Programs Helpful or Harmful? New Evidence in the Wake of the Opioid Epidemic (July 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w26111, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3428163

Analisa Packham (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
12
Abstract Views
216
PlumX Metrics