Evaluation of Quasi-Legal Needle Exchange Programs: Why on Earth Do Programs Put Up With It

Sheigla B. Murphy, Institute for Scientific Analysis

This paper will critically examine evaluation, theory, practice, and politics using a community based needle exchange program as a case study. Past studies of illegal services changing to "legal agencies" (e.g., abortion services, aid to illegal aliens) have found as services emerge to meet real needs, a number of structural changes arise around the provider participation. Underground activities begin to demonstrate their effectiveness and to win public support, followed by public funding, the stabilization of space, the hiring of staff, the engagement in program evaluation, and, eventually, the emergence of legitimate social agencies managed by professionals. In this paper, we will discuss how San Francisco's HIV Prevention Project's (HPP) history has run a similar course but has maintained some of its street-based roots and deviant ideologies.

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Updated 05/20/2006