The value of clean needle exchanges is settled science. Public health bodies ranging from the American Medical Association to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to President George H.W. Bush's and President Bill Clinton's surgeon general, have endorsed providing injection drug users with the opportunity to anonymously exchange dirty needles for clean ones. Doing so decreases the spread of HIV and hepatitis, without creating new drug users.
Nothing drives that point home like a new report from the Department of Health in Washington, D.C., where 2.7 percent of the population has HIV.