Study demonstrates that preventing just 6 bacterial infections pays for syringe program for one year
A study carried out at the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida looked at the costs associated with hospital admissions of People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) over a twelve month period during 2014-15. During this time, 349 PWID with preventable infections that resulted in hospitalization were identified. The median cost per treatment of each infection was $39,896 per case. The total costs to the hospital were in the region of $11.4M.
According to the Florida Department of Health projections, the annual cost to operate the syringe exchange program would be $202,451 meaning it would only require preventing 6 (yes, 6) cases per year to pay for the service and save the State over $10M per year.
And this is not factoring in the savings from prevention of HIV and Hepatitis C, further contributing to the economic feasibility of Syringe Exchange programs.
Hospital management must seriously consider diverting some of their funding towards Harm Reduction programs purely as a cost-effective way of saving themselves a lot of money if not on humanitarian grounds.