How Effective Are Needle Exchange Programs?05:11
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A doctor at the University of Miami holds needles on Nov. 30, 2016, that will be given away to people with drug addictions at a new syringe exchange program. (Kerry Sheridan/AFP/Getty Images)MoreCloseclosemore
A doctor at the University of Miami holds needles on Nov. 30, 2016, that will be given away to people with drug addictions at a new syringe exchange program. (Kerry Sheridan/AFP/Getty Images)

There are more than 300 needle exchange programs in the U.S., according to the North American Syringe Exchange Network — a number that has increased since the rise of the opioid epidemic. The aim: reduce the risk of HIV and hepatitis C outbreaks.

But some cities, including Charleston, West Virginia, have shut down their programs, citing mismanagement and other problems. Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Ricky Bluthenthal (@DrPtw), professor of preventative medicine at the University of Southern California, who studies the effectiveness of such programs.

This segment aired on May 14, 2018.

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