Pubdate: Sat, 07 Nov 1998
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Section: The Morning Mail
Copyright: 1998 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Author: Mark A. Harder
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament's tax-funded needle exchange program 
is based on the hypothetical, feel-good mantra of "What if we can prevent 
one more case of AIDS in Milwaukee County?"

Arguments based on hypothetical logic generally are not sound. However, 
since the land of "what if" is where the county executive wants to dwell, I 
will present some "what ifs" for him to contemplate.

What if, as a result of having clean needles, another person is introduced 
to drugs and becomes a heroine or cocaine addict? What if another citizen 
is mugged, store owner shot, car stolen or house burglarized as a result of 
that person becoming addicted and in need of drug money?

What if another baby is born addicted to drugs because a mother was able to 
score needles so easily? What if just one more person perceives the habit 
is safe, continues the destructive behavior and another family is torn 
apart due to child and spousal neglect or abuse?

There are plenty of "what ifs" that could happen as a result of 
implementing this program that have more serious consequences to the 
community than does Ament's one "what if."

Instead of fostering and enabling those who are participating in the drug 
culture, those in leadership positions should be showing our youths that 
there are consequences for engaging in such risky and illegal behavior.

Mark A. Harder

South Milwaukee