Pubdate: 07 Nov. 1998
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Fax: (414) 224-8280
Copyright: 1998, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Author: Mark A. Harder, South Milwaukee


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

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

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Checked-by: Rich O'Grady