The Physicians Society of Central Florida is extremely pleased to support the enactment of proposed Orange County Code, Article VIII, Chapter 20, pertaining to Needle and Syringe Exchange Program in Orange County, Florida.
The Florida Medical Association and component County Medical Societies across the State have long supported the adoption of needle exchange programs as a data-driven solution for addressing the opioid crisis, lowering HIV and Hepatitis C transmission rates, and lowering overall health care costs for treatment of this patient population.
A wealth of data has been published by the Infectious Disease Elimination Act (IDEA) Program at the University of Miami that shows the beneficial impact that a similar program could have on our community.
One scientific paper authored by Dr. Hansel Tookes at the University of Miami examined the relationship between needle exchange programs and decreases in overdose related hospitalizations and found “a significant decrease in overdose-associated admissions among People Who Inject Opioids at a county safety-net hospital following the implementation of the IDEA-SSP in the setting of the contemporary Florida overdose crisis”. https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-020-00376-1
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Syringe Exchange Programs are also proven to be a cost-saving preventive intervention, saving the healthcare system over $400,000 for a lifetime of HIV medications, $94,000 for one course of the new Hepatitis C medications, and Jackson Memorial Hospital $11.4 million in healthcare costs associated with People Who Inject Drugs in one year (while only spending $0.9 cents per syringe).
It is without hesitation that our organization encourages the Orange County Board of County Commissioners to adopt the Needle and Syringe Exchange Program.
The PSCF was founded in 2019 as collaboration between the Orange and Seminole County Medical Societies. The PSCF represents over 900 allopathic and osteopathic physicians, residents, and medical students in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole County. Our mission is to advocate for the highest quality of health care, while ensuring freedom of choice, and access to affordable medical care.