Pubdate: Mon, 18 Jun 2001
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 2001 PG Publishing
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


Kudos to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for the excellent June 5 editorial on 
the need for needle-exchange programs ("Make It Legal").

When politics trumps science, people die. According to the Centers for 
Disease Control and Prevention, 56 percent of AIDS cases among women are 
linked to injection drug use or sex with partners who inject drugs. 
Overall, 36 percent of AIDS cases in the United States can be traced back 
to intravenous drug use.

This easily preventable public health crisis is a direct result of zero 
tolerance policies that restrict access to clean syringes. Punitive drug 
laws compound the problem by driving use underground. Would alcoholics seek 
help if doing so were tantamount to confessing to criminal activity?

In the interest of containing the HIV epidemic, let's hope "tough on drugs" 
politicians acknowledge the drug war's tremendous collateral damage sooner 
rather than later.


Program Officer
The Lindesmith Center
Drug Policy Foundation
Washington, D.C.
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MAP posted-by: GD