Pubdate: Wed, 07 Feb 2001
Source: Columbian, The (WA)
Copyright: 2001 The Columbian Publishing Co.
Contact:  701 W 8th St, Vancouver, WA 98666
Author:  Floyd Ferris Landrath
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


Normally I would not bother to refute Sandra Bennett's extreme views,
such as her Jan. 28 opinion, "War on illegal drugs should be escalated."

But when she writes, "While it is only humane to provide treatment to
addicts, one does not win a war by treating the wounded," it hit a

For the several years I have run a needle exchange in Southeast
Portland, I met the so-called "enemy," the junkies, these
walking-wonded veterans frustratingly compelled by both disease and
law to live underground.  In numbers they are actually quite few, most
are anonymous, maybe even sitting next to you on the bus.  Most people
suffer addiction in silence yet otherwise lead normal and productive
lives as long as they do not get caught.

Bennett's hysteria, and the massive government power and taxpayer
money that aligns itself with such extremes, is much more a threat to
civil society than any junkie could ever be.  We cannot be both a free
society and a drug-free society at the same time.  It's a
contradiction is basic constitutional terms.  If we are so weak a
people that we need the state to protect us from drug abuse, perhaps
we don't deserve a free society.

Floyd Ferris Landrath,
Portland, OR 
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