Saturday, September 1, 2012
Recently Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti wrote a letter to congress expressing his desire to see successful needle exchange programs set up in the county.
Lamberti’s letter stated: “The dramatically high rate of new HIV infections in South Florida is directly related to widespread substance abuse. These co-occurring epidemics create a synergy that heightens risk behaviors and results in tremendous costs to both the affected individuals and the community. While substance abuse prevention and treatment remain vital, it is also essential that the health consequences of injection drug use be mitigated by needle exchange programs.”
Lamberti also expressed his concern for tax payers having to foot the bill for caring for inmates who are HIV positive.
Lamberti wrote: “Until we can get drug and substance abuse under control and find a cure for the spread of the AIDS virus, containment of the disease should be one of our strategies. As we speak today, there are 200 inmates in the Broward County jail who are HIV positive. The cost of providing AIDS medications to these inmates is approximately $1,000 per month per inmate. This equates to a $200,000 monthly expenditure for AIDS medications alone for our jail system. This represents an extreme tax burden to the residents of Broward County. Considering the economic stress that our citizens face today, any efforts to reduce the HIV infection population should be pursued.”