Pubdate: Mon, 20 May 2002
Source: Peoria Journal Star (IL)
Copyright: 2002sPeoria Journal Star
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)


Harm reduction saves lives, and Beth Wehrman is a lifesaver. Peoria 
residents who find fault with her needle exchange efforts would be wise to 
consider that drug users are not the only ones at risk. Ms. Wehrman is 
protecting the entire community.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 57 percent of 
AIDS cases among women are linked to injection drug use or sex with 
partners who inject drugs. Overall, 36 percent of AIDS cases in the United 
States can be traced to intravenous drug use. This easily preventable 
public health crisis is a direct result of zero tolerance laws that 
restrict access to clean syringes.

Let's hope America's tough-on-drugs politicians acknowledge the drug war's 
tremendous collateral damage sooner, not later. Whether we like it or not, 
both drug use and drug laws are here to stay. It makes sense to try and 
minimize the harm associated with both.

Robert Sharpe

Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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MAP posted-by: Beth