Many local public health officials have told DPFT they believe they could better protect their communities from the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis through the implementation of syringe (or needle) exchange programs [SEPs or NEPs]. These programs are currently illegal in Texas.
DPFT believes that the legislature should respect professional expertise and provide local officials the option of constructing programs free of political interference.
Some seven major studies of SEPs in the last decade are unanimous in their findings. U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher of The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services summarized:
"After reviewing all of the research to date, the senior scientists of the Department and I have unanimously agreed that there is conclusive scientific evidence that syringe exchange programs, as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy, are an effective public health intervention that reduces the transmission of HIV and does not encourage the use of illegal drugs."