Pubdate: Sun, 18 Dec 2005
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Vancouver Courier
Author: Beth Wehrman


To the editor:

Re: "VANDU not worth coverage," Letters, Dec. 7.

When I respond to a situation which I know only peripherally, I often speak 
with lack of knowledge. Such is the case with persons outside the realm of 
harm reduction and drug use.

I am a mother and a gramma. I'm a street nurse. I work with drug users. I 
provide information about safer ways to use drugs. I provide sterile 
injection equipment. I teach people how to recognize and respond to opiate 
overdoses. I provide counselling and testing for HIV and hepatitis C and 
vaccines against hepatitis A & B. I am not a drug dealer.

But if and when an individual who uses drugs decides to make a change in 
his/her life, I am a trusted ally-a person they can call for reliable, 
accurate information and referrals. I cannot make the decision for you to 
change your drug use. You make that choice. I can support your decision.

If and when that happens, I may have helped you to take those steps without 
becoming infected with HIV or hepatitis. That is my goal.

VANDU is an invaluable resource for individuals who often receive little 
support or understanding from the community at large. They deserve our 
support, as do VANDU participants.

Beth Wehrman, Vancouver
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