Pubdate: Thu, 19 Apr 2001
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Authors: Dell Limjoco and Stan Lewis
Note: 2 PUB LTEs


Re: "Myths vs. realities in needle exchange programs" (Opinion, April 13):

Peter Beilenson, the Baltimore city health commissioner, is a leader in the 
public health field. He is responsible for the successful drug prevention 
and treatment programs there that are supported by the mayor, City Council 
and public.

In San Diego, the county Board of Supervisors has muzzled public health 
officials, who acquiesce to the pressure. The supervisors then make their 
own public health policy on drug abuse prevention and treatment based on 
political ideology instead of evidence-based science.

Too bad Beilenson isn't in charge of the San Diego County Health and Human 
Services Agency.

Dell Limjoco, San Diego

The efforts of Baltimore to deal with its drug problem stand in stark 
contrast to those of San Diego County.

In Baltimore, a city of 650,000, there are 8,000 residential and 
nonresidential treatment slots for drug addicts ready for treatment, with 
more than 300 slots designated for IDUs (injecting drug users). In San 
Diego County, with a population of 2.9 million, the county funds 3,000 
treatment slots, none of which are designated for the treatment of an 
25,000 IDUs.

In Baltimore, funding for drug treatment has tripled in the past three 
years; in San Diego County, there has been only a token increase in such 

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors opposes clean syringe exchange 
programs, a proven method of reducing the spread of blood-borne diseases. 
But, at the same time, it is failing to provide sufficient treatment for 
those who are addicted.

The next time you hear the supervisors say they're for drug treatment, you 
might want to tell them to put their money where their mouths are.

Stan Lewis, San Diego
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D