"Prison Based Needle and Syringe Programs, a Must for Australia says National Drug Users Organisation"
The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) the national organisation representing illicit drug users across Australia is pleased to launch today its discussion paper on the important issue of Prison Based Syringe Exchange Programs (PSE Programs).
Ms. Annie Madden, AIVL’s Executive Officer commented, “Every day, injecting drug using prisoners are being forced to compromise their health due to the continuing unavailability of legitimate programs for the provision of sterile injecting equipment and the disposal of used equipment in Australian prisons. The result is increasing numbers of people becoming infected with hepatitis C and an array of other preventable physical health issues.”
AIVL was funded by the Department of Health and Ageing, Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS Section to develop the document as part of AIVL’s policy activities. One of AIVL’s main aims in developing the document was to shift the focus from a continual debate about whether we should have PSE programs to a more positive dialogue about how PSE programs can be implemented.
Ms. Madden continued, “This work is important as it provides those responsible for providing services in prisons with the perspective of those who would benefit most from PSE programs – injecting drug using prisoners. Given the high numbers of injecting drug users who are repeatedly incarcerated, this is an important issue that needs urgent action.”
AIVL is aware that this is a sensitive and complex issue and that many stakeholders need to be involved in developing such programs including current and ex prisoners. At the moment however, we are faced with a breach of human and health rights in our prisons. It is recognised here in Australia that a person’s capacity to access health services should not be compromised by reason of imprisonment and that such services should be to the standard as provided in the community. At present,
Ms. Madden concluded, “AIVL’s report is both comprehensive and informative and will aid us in reaching our goal of commencing a trial of PSE programs in
For further comment please contact Ms. Annie Madden – AIVL Executive Officer:
ph: (02) 6279 1600 Fax: (02) 6279 1610