Pubdate: Fri, 24 Aug 2007
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: William Buehlman


Editor - After reading multiple articles and letters to the editor in
The Chronicle regarding the public-safety issue of syringes being
discarded in the park, I was surprised that effective interventions
demonstrated to reduce harm to both the drug user and the community
weren't given a mention.

We need a commonsense, public-health solution. In addition to
installing 24-hour drop boxes for needle disposal in high injection
drug-use areas, we need safe injection facilities. There are at least
28 sound scientific studies, published in peer reviewed medical
journals showing that safe injection sites enhance public safety,
reduce disease transmission and significantly promote admission to
detoxification and substance-abuse treatment.

By providing a safe, clean space for injection drug users to
administer their substances and dispose of their paraphernalia, we can
reduce overdose deaths, soft-tissue infections and the associated
high-dollar emergency-room visits. It's an opportunity for
intervention, education and referrals to services. It's time to take a
truly progressive approach that is compassionate, safe and exhibits
fiscal common sense. San Francisco needs to take the lead with smart
public-health policy based on empirical evidence, not fear-based rhetoric.

William Buehlman

Certified addiction treatment counselor

San Francisco
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake