Focal Point: The Point of Contention

Posted September 7, 2005 4:54 p.m. EDT
Updated July 18, 2012 6:05 p.m. EDT

Original Air Date: Sept. 7, 2005

In the last two decades, 27,000 North Carolinians have been infected with HIV and AIDS. Thousands were intravenous drug users who got the disease by sharing tainted needles with other addicts. Public health officials argue that one way to slow the spread of HIV and AIDS is to reduce needle sharing among I.V. drug users. They say easier access to clean needles will cut the risk of infection and better protect the overall health of North Carolina’s communities.

"The Point of Contention" examines the controversial practice of needle exchange and the recent efforts to legalize it in North Carolina. In recent years, advocacy groups in Asheville and High Point have distributed clean needles to drug users as part of overall public outreach programs. What they do is technically illegal, but one North Carolina lawmaker has made it his mission to change the law and bring needle exchange out of the shadows.

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The Point Of Contention

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