Las Vegas will be the first city in the United States to provide vending machines to dispense free needle kits
to registered drug users. The plan is designed to help addicts avoid one of the common causes of HIV and Hepatitis C infection—shared needles. Each registered participant is allowed two kits per week; each kit contains ten needles.
The strategy is based on models used in Australia and Europe, where studies have found that providing safe equipment and methods for disposal of used needles has reduced the incidence of secondary drug use-related diseases. Participants are assigned case managers that can also direct them to counseling and drug rehabilitation services if they so desire it.
While the program is focusing on harm reduction, it is not able to eliminate the debilitating and often life-threatening consequences of the drugs themselves. The gospel, on the other hand, can provide those ensnared in drug us freedom from sin and its sentence of death (Romans 3:23). Jesus says, “I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Like the needle exchange program, the salvation of Jesus is available only to those who ask for it. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20). The gift is free, but each of us has to make the effort to invite Christ to come into our lives and accept the changes only He can make in our lives.
The transforming power of grace enables each of us to turn from sin and live a life that is full of good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). This is God’s desire for each of His children.
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