Poster Paper: Orange County Needle Exchange Capstone Research Project

Sunday, April 9, 2017
University of California, Riverside

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Scarlet Ohara Peralta Tapia, William Lavin, Xiaoting Sun and Ryan Fleischman, University of California, Irvine
Orange County Needle Exchange Capstone Abstract

            Unsanitary intravenous drug use poses a significant health threat to some of the most vulnerable and underrepresented members of society. Policymakers at all levels of government have been largely unresponsive to this unique problem due to the vast stigma that surrounds drug use within the homeless population. The advent of needle exchange programs has largely been conceived of through nonprofit organizations such as the Orange County Needle Exchange (OCNE) program. The OCNE aims to reduce this public health risk by providing access to clean syringes, disposal of used syringes, on-site HIV and Hepatitis C testing, referrals to health housing and treatment service, and other harm reduction and safer sex supplies and information. As concerns have continued to echo, this group will conduct research on the impact the OCNE has had on its community and whether disease related to issues have decreased. We would also like to examine other cities' protocol with needles and how harm reduction differs from city to city. The overall goal of this research project will be to figure out how this type of needle program can be codified for the long-term. We will do so through discerning the qualitative and quantitative results from the data collected. Proving imperial success of this program will help ensure its long-term existence. We will provide research based on past examples of similar programs that have achieved long-term codification and provide insight into the precedence of renewal of programs with sunset clauses within the legislative process. Proving the success of the Needle Exchange Program through the empirical analysis of this Capstone research project will be the first step in the long-term legislative codification of this important public health program.