Pubdate: Sat, 20 Jan 2001
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2001 San Francisco Chronicle
Contact:  901 Mission St., San Francisco CA 94103
Author: Ellen Komp


Editor -- Your report, "Changing Method of Treatment for Drug Addiction" 
(Jan. 15), might have mentioned that the harm-reduction approach taken by 
officials in San Francisco is well-grounded in the positive experience of 
other cities, notably in Europe and Australia. We would do well to follow 
the lead of Frankfurt, for example, which lowered heroin overdoses by 80 
percent and reduced public nuisances associated with drug use with an 
integrated harm-reduction approach.

Contrary to opinion expressed in the article, numerous studies have shown 
that needle exchanges do bring heroin users into treatment. (Unfortunately, 
treatment slots are not always available to them, a situation state 
Proposition 36 attempts to correct.) According to the latest San Francisco 
medical examiner's report, the number of heroin overdose deaths dropped 
slightly in the city last year, possibly as a result of education efforts 
conducted largely at needle exchange sites.

Ellen Komp, Deputy director, The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation, 
San Francisco
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