Almost immediately after those first tests, Western European countries installed needle-exchange programs, gave out free syringes, and established opiate-substitution treatment. Germany even got needle vending machines. By 1997, England and Wales were giving out 25 million free syringes per year. Anything to keep the virus from spreading, even if it meant making it a little easier to be a heroin addict that day.
The United States, on the other hand, refused to provide federal funds for needle exchanges or even fund research into whether they were effective.
These deaths need to be added to the War on Drugs’ casualty count. Pathetic.
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