Pubdate: Wed, 05 Oct 2005
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2005 The Sacramento Bee
Note: Does not publish letters from outside its circulation area.
Author: Glenn Backes
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)


Re "Skittish over needles," editorial, Sept. 28: Needle exchange and 
pharmacy sale of syringes save lives and tax dollars without adding to 
increased drug use or unsafe discard of syringes.

Selling syringes costs taxpayers nothing. Pharmacies are geographically 
dispersed, staffed by health professionals and have varied open hours. New 
injectors or intermittent "weekenders" do not tend to use needle exchanges, 
but will access pharmacies. They also serve vacation and business 
travelers, the uninsured and others who need sterile syringes without a 

Needle exchanges are resource-intensive, recommended wher there is a nexus 
of poverty, drugs and disease. But there isn't enough government and 
foundation money to ensure that programs reach every person in need.

Both approaches bridge users to drug treatment and medical care and provide 
means to dispose of used syringes.

The decision to sell syringes to an adult belongs with the pharmacist. The 
supervisors should free health professionals to do their job preventing 
disease and saving lives.

Glenn Backes, Sacramento
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