Across the country, a rise in the misuse of injectable opioids and heroin means more people are at higher risk of contracting infectious diseases from using contaminated syringes. Sharing syringes provides a direct route of transmission for blood-borne diseases such as the hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Symptoms may not appear for years, meaning individuals who inject drugs may share needles and unknowingly spread diseases to others.
Tobacco use remains a leading cause of preventable death in the United States, known to cause cancer and other harmful health conditions, including, but not limited to, respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Implementing evidence-based policies that reduce smoking and tobacco consumption can decrease tobacco-related illnesses and death. One of the most effective strategies to decrease tobacco use is to raise the price of tobacco products, something which state governments can accomplish by establishing specific taxes and pricing limits for tobacco products.
A new Perspective article in the New England Journal of Medicine examines a recent decision by a Philadelphia judge to reject the argument that an overdose prevention site, called Safehouse, would violate the Controlled Substances Act.
The decision signals a move toward an approach to regulating drugs that minimizes both the harms of drugs and the harms caused by regulation itself – worthy goals all around, the authors write.