Sharing needles leads to the risk of HIV and hepatitis infection among users. Syringe programs are currently in place in big cities throughout the country. These programs allow users to obtain clean needles for safe use to help reduce the spread of these infections/diseases. Usually the programs use money from donors or volunteers. The results of these programs show a decrease in the rate of transmission of these diseases while not affecting the rate of usage of illegal drugs. Predominantly white, rural, areas are now at the highest risk because they don’t have access to these programs. In 2014, whites had the highest rate of HIV infection for injection drug users. The federal government currently doesn’t allow funds to be used on sterile syringes.
Is it ethical for the U.S. government to allow states to use funds on syringe programs? According to Mill’s consequentialism, it would be the most optimific action. The most optimific action is the one that creates the best, or good, consequences relative to bad consequences. Some would say a bad consequence of syringe programs is that it promotes the use of drugs. However the data shows that these programs have no effect on drug usage. Another bad consequence that some could argue is that funds could be better utilized elsewhere. These programs can actually save money by eliminating the health care costs associated with the spread of these diseases. However I believe the good that would come from these programs would greatly outweigh the bad, making it the most optimific action according to Mill’s. One obvious consequence is the reduced risk of disease or infection. If less people are infected with hepatitis or HIV, it reduces the risk of our country as a whole. These programs more importantly however provide counseling and disease testing for those who wouldn’t normally get it. Most drug addicts wouldn’t go get counseling on their own. Syringe programs would help these drug users get a foot in the door that would help lead them down a better path. It would be irresponsible, according to Mill, for our government not to take a look at their stance on the funding of these programs.