Pubdate: Sun, 10 Jul 2005
Source: High Point Enterprise (NC)
Copyright: 2005 High Point Enterprise
Author: Stephen Heath
Bookmark: (Hepatitis)
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


Regarding the editorial June 9 headlined "County OKs needle plan":

As a recovered abuser of both crack and powder cocaine (clean 11 
years now), I was pleased to learn of your new Guilford County 
needle-exchange program and wanted to thank you for your astute 
supportive comments for this important new program.

Based on my experience working with drug abusers in treatment and 
recovery settings, I have learned that every injection drug user I've 
ever met was not interested in perpetual use. They are all seeking a 
viable way to get clean from the destructive cycle of use. However, 
each person has their own time-lag to quit. For some, that can come 
quickly, while for others it may take several months and up to years.

But make no mistake, every user will eventually stop, because 
perpetual use of injection drugs is almost impossible physically.

Therefore, while patiently working with those abusers trying to quit, 
we benefit as a community if we reduce the peripheral and associated 
disease that can be unwittingly passed by dirty or disease-infected needles.

It's possible to overcome a drug addiction. It is, of course, 
impossible to overcome a case of HIV or a case of Hepatitis C that 
can be generated by use of dirty needles.

Have mercy on the abuser. He was once clean like you. And he can be 
that way again, provided he lives long enough.


Clearwater, Fla.

The writer is public relations director of Drug Policy Forum of 
Florida based in Clearwater, Fla.
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