Pubdate: Sun, 24 Sep 2000
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Contact:  PO Box 120191, San Diego, CA, 92112-0191
Fax: (619) 293-1440
Author: Ken Moser, John Kiss and Bill Cowing


The false hopes and virtues of a needle exchange program (NEP) are always 
promoted passionately. But as a wise man once said, "Passion often rules, 
but she never rules wisely."

The results of a Montreal needle-exchange study, published recently in the 
American Journal of Epidemiology,  prove the point. Researchers led by 
Julie Bruneau of the University of Montreal found that intravenous drug 
users who got their syringes at city needle exchange programs contracted 
HIV more often than those who acquired their needles elsewhere, including 
over-the-counter in pharmacies, which is legal in Montreal. Nearly 1,600 
such users were chronicled for 21 months, and 89 got HIV; the probability 
for a needle exchanger was more than double that of a nonexchanger -- 33 
percent to 13 percent.

Promoters of NEPs have attempted to discount data from studies like the one 
from Montreal or others that show a 20 percent increase in crime rates in 
the areas surrounding the centers. Hopefully, the full San Diego City 
Council will vote no on this matter. We don't need to suffer the tragic 
fate of Montreal and other cities by implementing a policy that will worsen 
the plight of these people.

Ken Moser, trustee Community College District San Diego

Are we going to give addicts clean needles on demand, so they won't get 
AIDS? This is the essence of modern liberalism: Remove as many negative 
consequences as possible for people who make "bad choices," then create a 
dependent relationship, so that those people have little incentive to 
change their ways. It's called "enabling," and it does nothing to improve 
the addicts' plight. It may make you feel good, but they're the ones 
getting high on your dollar.

John Kiss, San Diego

Keith A. Anastasi (Letters, Sept. 18) states that addiction is a disease. 
He's just another touchy-feely person who believes everyone is a victim. 
Aren't people responsible for their actions? Cancer is a disease, but 
addiction merely indicates a character weakness and a lack of 
self-discipline. By mislabeling addiction as a "disease," we just give 
addicts an excuse for self-indulgence.

Bill Cowing, Solana Beach
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