Pubdate: Wed, 20 May 2009
Source: Telegraph-Journal (Saint John, CN NK)
Copyright: 2009 Brunswick News Inc.
Author: Judith Meinert-Thomas


I have been volunteering with AIDS Saint John since  1990 and I was 
part of the board 18 years ago that  decided to, under cover of 
darkness, practically  speaking, provide clean needles to those who 
needed  them so they could safely inject free of potential 
and  deadly diseases. In the intervening years drug use has  grown to 
be an enormous problem in our province, with  an exponential increase 
in crime, broken lives and  families, lost jobs and lost lives.

For several years now I have been volunteering in the  Needle 
Exchange Program based at AIDS Saint John and I  have heard harrowing 
stories and have witnessed people  begging for a walk-in methadone 
clinic as they struggle  to overcome their addictions.

At the N.E.P., we have clients from St. Stephen to  Sussex and all 
points in between so for people to say  it's just a city problem are 
off-base. To read on  Monday that a methadone clinic was now a 
reality in our  city gave cause for great hope.

I want to say thank you to Mike Murphy and Ed Doherty  for responding 
to such obvious need but I want to save  my biggest thanks for Julie 
Dingwell, executive  director of AIDS Saint John and to Saint John 
Police  Chief Bill Reid. Without their constant pushing,  lobbying 
and their determination to go forward, the new  methadone clinic 
would not be a reality.

All of our area will benefit from their attitude of  caring. Thank 
you again to everyone who made this  happen.


Saint John
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