Pubdate: Wed, 29 Apr 1998
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) 


Editor -- This is in response to Cynthia Tucker's April 25 column re needle
exchanges. With very few medical exceptions, persons using needles belong
either in a hospital or a jail. The needle exchange program is clear
evidence that there is no enforcement of the law in regard to illegal drug
use. Unfortunately, the used needles often are not exchanged but discarded
to turn up in recreational areas where children are likely to be exposed to
the disease the program purports to prevent.

The impact of drugs on our educational system, health services, judicial
system and economy, to mention a few, is deplorable. Society suffers not
only tremendous financial loss but must sustain the physically and mentally
incapacitated addicted members and their offspring. The cost to the taxpayer
to support this unproductive and dysfunctional segment is astronomical and

Tucker cites the poor and minorities as being deprived of the benefits of
needle exchanges. There are very few rich people who could afford a
$100-a-day habit. The price of needles or the means to sterilize them is
infinitesimal compared to the price of the habit, so it is obviously the
addict's choice is to accept the risk.

Briefly stated, drug addicts are a threat to our society. Unless drastic
measures are implemented to educate or forcibly rehabilitate potential and
established addicts, the fabric of our social system will be irreparably
damaged. Clean needles will not do it.


Moss Beach