Pubdate: Tue, 23 Aug 2005
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2005 The Sacramento Bee
Note: Does not publish letters from outside its circulation area.
Author: John G. Vigna
Bookmark: (Hepatitis)
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


Re "Board vote on sales of needles delayed," Aug. 11: As someone who 
attended the meeting, I would like to applaud supervisors Roger Dickinson 
and Illa Collin for their principled stance in defense of a proven, if 
controversial, public policy.

One theme that kept recurring among the opponents was that these programs 
affect only a small portion of the population. This is false; indeed, 
anyone who pays taxes or insurance premiums is daily picking up the costs 
of treating such illnesses as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, which 
indiscriminately infects both irresponsible drug users and their innocent 
victims in the community.

Furthermore, none of the opponents were able to cite any kind of statistics 
supporting their claims that clean needle programs are ineffective or 
dangerous. This was pointedly contrasted by the informed opinion of the 
physicians, pharmacists, health care officials and community leaders who 
spoke in support of the proposal.

We should applaud supervisors Don Nottoli, Roberta McGlashan and Susan 
Peters for their somber reflection on the issue, and hope that in October, 
they adhere to their responsibilities and act to address this very real crisis.

- - John G. Vigna

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