As with all specialized fields of study, drug policy discussions frequently include terminology not used in every day conversations. Here are some brief definitions of common terms used in syringe access dialogue.
Harm Reduction-Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies that reduce negative consequences of drug use, incorporating a spectrum of strategies from safer use, to managed use to abstinence.
Names for Syringe Access Programs
SEP- Syringe Exchange Program- A program that collects dirty syringes in exchange for sterile ones. SEP's often provide many other services such as disease testing, referrals to treatment and other risk reduction education. syn: NEP
NEP- Needle Exchange Program- syn: SEP, see above
Pharmaceutical Access- non-prescription sales of syringes in pharmacies
Names for Users of Drugs
IDU- Intravenous Drug User
Addict- A person who has developed a psychological or physical dependence on a substance.
User- A person who uses drugs but is not addicted.
Junkie- A person addicted to narcotic drugs, especially heroin
Diseases and Health Risks Related to Injection Drug Use
HIV- Human Immunodeficiency Virus
AIDS-Acquired Immune Difficiency Syndrom
HCV- Hepatitis C
HBV- Hepatitis B
Addiction- The disease of psychological or physical dependence on a substance.
Cotton Fever- Cotton fever is believed to be caused by the Enterobacter agglomerans bacterium, which colonizes cotton plants. IDU's elevate their chances of contracting cotton fever when using short strand cotton (cigarette filters, cotton balls, etc) as opposed to long strand cotton.
OD- Overose. Overdose is the poisoning of a persons body that occurs when a drug is ingested in too large of a quantity, causing severe illness or death.
Risk Reduction Drugs and Practices
Buprenorphine- An opioid drug used primarily in the relief of pain associated with drug addiction withdrawl and treatment.
Naloxone- A drug that instantly reverses the respiratory depression associated with opiate overdose, often used to save lives of those who OD on opiates. Does not work for non-opiate OD's.
Methadone- A simple synthetic opioid often used in the detoxification and treatment of people with addiciton to narcotics. Also used in treatment of chronic pain.
Safe Injection- Eliminating as many risks as possible to make injection drug use survivable. Example: never use alone, one sterile needle per person, used one time only, rotate injeciton site on body to save veins, ect.