Pubdate: Thu, 21 Oct 2004
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: M.L. Conboy
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


Re: City 'abetting' drug users, Cullen fears, Oct. 8.

I fully support of Ottawa's needle-exchange program and the new 
harm-reduction products.

I am a former IV drug user and sex-trade worker. My life of destruction at 
the time was very dangerous. I was so high risk that I was tested for HIV 
about 30 to 35 times in a 10-year period. I used to get high with all kinds 
of drug-users. Some were HIV positive and some were Hep C positive.

During the progression of drug use, a person at times does not care about 
how the drugs are injected (clean or dirty needles) so various diseases are 

My life was spared. I believe the needle-exchange program offered by the 
van and the Health Sexuality Centre at 179 Clarence St. played a key part 
in keeping me healthy and free from HIV.

Harm reduction makes sense in an addict's world. The van and 179 Clarence 
offer other support to addicts such as referrals to detox centres, 
substance-abuse programs, anonymous testing and other links to community 

Injecting drugs is dangerous and scary -- yet it is here to stay. So let's 
be smart and think sensibly. A harm-reduction program such as the needle 
exchange can save addicts from dying, it can prevent the spread of disease 
and, in some cases, it can buy addicts time in which to turn their lives 

M.L. Conboy,

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