Selling syringes is a sore spot for many pharmacy personnel, both technicians and pharmacists alike. I’ve heard technicians say that they wish that they (the drug abusers) would “just die.” I used to have moral qualms about it, too. Why sell something to drug addicts which only facilitates their habit? Why make it easier to abuse illegal substances?
I had an epiphany one day. It occurred to me that selling needles was the lesser of two evils.
Option 1: Withhold clean needles.
Outcome: Person still injects drug of choice, potentially using an unclean needle.
Option 2: Sell clean needles.
Outcome: Person still shoots up, but may avoid infecting or becoming infected with a blood-borne pathogen.
Option 2 is the better option, if for no other reason than it’s more economical. By possibly reducing the spread of infectious disease, we’re possibly saving taxpayer money. Drug abusers are typically uninsured, and wind up in the ER where tax money will pay for the cost of their care. It should go without saying that withholding clean needles isn’t going to stop an addict from getting their fix. Of course drug abuse leads to other medical complications, so there’s no guarantee that they won’t end up there anyway…
Naturally, I play the “Gee I wonder if they’re using it for insulin… or maybe their cat?” game all the time, even though I know it’s unlikely. When they haven’t showered in about a week, look as though they’ve been living in a box under a bridge somewhere, and complain that you’re not snappy enough about selling them their $2.10 bag of syringes, it’s probably a good sign that you’re not using said needles for healthy reasons.
But it’s a comfortable delusion nonetheless.
[tags]Medicine, pharmacy, needles, syringes, drug abuse[/tags]