January 25, 2013

Man who began needle exchange dies at age 73

The Associated Press

TACOMA, Wash. - The Tacoma man who started one of the nation's first needle exchanges to prevent the spread of HIV-AIDS among drug users has died at age 73.

The needle exchange David Purchase started in 1988 in downtown Tacoma was quickly copied across the nation, leading his friends and associates to call him a public health hero.

"When he began talking about the needle exchange, his sense of social justice, Dave didn't have a neutral gear or a reverse gear," said Lyle Quasim, a friend since 1970. "Dave only had forward gears."

His daughter, Becky Purchase Ford, told The News Tribune that Purchase had on died Monday.

The Tacoma program, which was controversial at first, is now run by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

Purchase went on to found the North American Syringe Exchange and the Point Defiance AIDS Project and was instrumental in programs that began as far away as Australia and Italy.

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)