Pubdate: Thu, 16 Mar 2006
Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)
Copyright: 2006 Madison Newspapers, Inc.
Author: David Michon
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


The tragic deaths of Sarah Stellner and Michael Ace from drug 
overdoses, and the charges against the woman alleged to have sold 
them heroin, should cause us all to reconsider drug policies which 
have been burying our family members for decades.

Is prohibition the best way of addressing addiction? At first 
thought, it would seem so. But prohibition does more harm than good. 
In almost all these cases, the victims were misinformed about the 
strength of the drug -- a tragic, needless mistake.

Currently, criminals are in charge of drug quality-control. Anyone 
bringing an overdose victim to the hospital will likely be 
prosecuted, perhaps for murder. So people die when they could easily be saved.

There are many new ways to keep people alive until help arrives. 
Nobody has to die from heroin overdose. Single-dose units of naloxone 
- -- an immediate-action heroin antidote; simple to use -- should be 
made freely available to users. We also need a Good Samaritan law so 
frightened young people will take proper action when needed. This is 
all addressed by The Harm Reduction Coalition's "SKOOP" (Skills and 
Knowledge On Overdose Prevention) program at

What we really need, of course, is regulated distribution of these 
drugs. Then all the drug dealers would have to apply for a job at 
Wal-Mart. And all the "cool" would go out of drug use.

- -- David Michon

Eau Claire
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman