Philly Needle Exchange Saving Lives in Camden

The Camden needle exchange closed two years ago, forcing addicts to take the train to Philadelphia to get clean needles.

As reported by Philly.com, nearly every week for the last two years, Christina Brown and her friends have begged for change until they have enough to cross the bridge from Camden to Philadelphia for clean hypodermic needles that might save their lives.

From there, Brown — who has been homeless and addicted to heroin for years — will walk, or, if she can afford it, take the Broad Street Line another mile to meet the van from Prevention Point. The Philadelphia needle exchange will accept the week’s worth of used needles she brings back so they can be properly disposed of and replace them with clean ones.

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It has been nearly two years since Camden distributed free, clean hypodermic needles that people in addiction need to avoid getting — and spreading — blood-borne illnesses like HIV and hepatitis.

Commuting for needles takes so much time that Brown and her friends worry they will slip into the pain and nausea of withdrawal before they can use again. The next week, some may decide just to take their chances on a shared needle, or one of unknown origin purchased on the street.

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To learn more about how addicts in Camden are struggling to find clean needles, please visit Philly.com.

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