SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A needle exchange program in Puerto Rico is testing a vending machine that provides drug users with clean syringes after-hours to fight the spread of HIV and hepatitis C.
Dr. Jose Vargas Vidot is the founder of Community Initiative, the U.S. island territory's only needle-exchange group. He says a single machine will make clean syringes available at night outside the group's office in Hato Rey.
Vargas said Tuesday that drug counseling offices that distribute syringes are open only during daylight hours.
The vending machine program targets young addicts reluctant to seek help.
Drug users can get syringes, cookers, cotton filters, gauze and sterile water to prepare drugs for injection by inserting a special card.