Pubdate: Wed, 07 Aug 2002
Source: Caledonian-Record, The  (VT)
Copyright: 2002 The Caledonian-Record
Author: Virginia Perotti
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


I once again write in response to one of your polls. This time, it is 
concerning the needle exchange program. Thank God I am not a drug user, nor 
have I ever had a drug user in my circle of family and friends.

However, I have the misfortune of knowing a person who is very addicted to 
nicotine. This person coughs approximately 18 hours a day - every day. When 
she briefly quits, the coughing stops, but this isn't incentive enough to 
break the addiction. She has always prided herself in being an exemplary 
employee, but now that the laws have changed regarding smoking in the 
workplace (and I'm glad they have), she must take several very 
unprofessional cigarette breaks, which I know breaks her heart.

She also pays more than I'm sure she ever thought she would to feed this 
addiction. Her family doesn't like to visit her smoke-filled home, and she 
has to stand in rain and bitter cold to engage in her habit.

When she started, smoking was not considered disgusting. She has seen 
herself evolve into a social pariah even though she started to feel a part 
of the group.

Finally, she saw her father die from his smoking habit at the age she is 
now, which is only 62. Yet she is powerless to stop, although she has been 
given many incentives and lectures.

Knowing this much about addiction, I believe strongly that heroin addicts 
will not get off smack just because they don't have clean needles. They 
will try to convince themselves that odds are that they won't get sick, 
maybe. Hopefully, a few of them will educate themselves on cleaning the 
needles with bleach.

But their addiction surpasses the moral lesson that some would try to teach 
them by denying them clean needles. Even those who claim that it is their 
business if they want to do heroin know that they should never have gotten 
involved with it. I'll bet most would get clean if they could.

What's to teach? So if something should be attempted here, it should be the 
prevention of AIDS and hepatitis, because not having a needle exchange 
program will never end the addiction.

Virginia Perotti

East Northport, N.Y.
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