American injection drug users today use injection methods and respond to opiate overdose with methods similar to those used by physicians in the mid-nineteenth century--methods consistent with nineteenth-century medical theory. Their isolation from sources of public health knowledge has in effect left them in a nineteenth-century medical world. Ironically, this fact affords the historian better understanding of how physicians understood and responded to risks associated with injection in the past. Needle exchange programs seek to bring injection drug users into the twenty-first century.
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