Pubdate: Thu, 23 Feb 2006
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Times Colonist
Author: Fred Mallach
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)
Bookmark: (Hepatitis)
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


Re: "Needles should have a point," Feb. 15.

A writer questions why injection drug users who are unable to obtain 
clean needles would be encouraged to get them through needle 
exchanges or safe consumption sites whereas insulin dependent 
diabetics must pay for their own supplies.

The writer asks for someone to tell him what's wrong with this 
picture. There is nothing wrong with this picture. It is like trying 
to compare an apple to a pomegranate. While both are red that is 
about all that they have in common.

For every dollar spent on harm-reduction programs three dollars are 
saved on policing, court, incarceration, property damage, medical 
expenses and other costs. An individual who is addicted to a 
substance has a medical problem and requires medical assistance. Most 
individuals who would benefit from a safe-consumption site or other 
harm-reduction programs are not able to look after themselves.

I do not know of any diabetic patients who have contracted AIDS or 
HIV or hepatitis from shared needles. Most diabetics are able to lead 
normal productive lives and are self-sufficient. Some are fortunate 
to have group medical plans that cover their expenses.

Fred Mallach,

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