Pubdate: Thu, 18 Jan 2001
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Contact:  PO Box 120191, San Diego, CA, 92112-0191
Fax: (619) 293-1440
Author:  Madelyn Bennett-gibson
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


I'm having difficulty reconciling San Diego's motto, "America's Finest 
City," with reality. Yes, we have great weather, but we are America's 
second-most-expensive city. We have a huge population of homeless, mentally 
ill and substance-addicted citizens, but we ignore these problems.

The Clean Needle Exchange Program would have been a big step in this 
effort, but the City Council allowed emotion to guide it rather than logic, 
and rejected it.

Every city that has instituted such an exchange has had a decrease in 
disease and no increase in addiction. Nobody ever becomes a drug addict 
because of the availability of clean needles. The program results in 
addicts turning in their dirty needles rather than discarding them on the 
playgrounds, back yards and streets.

We are facing an epidemic of HIV and hepatitis in San Diego. Soon, it will 
become America's Sickest City if something is not done. San Diego has been 
in the forefront of the movement to stop domestic violence, receiving 
accolades from across the country. Why not also be a leader in the fight 
against illness and addiction?

Madelyn Bennett-Gibson, San Diego
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D