Pubdate: [Tue, 01 Apr 1997] Source: Star Ledger (NJ) Author: Mark Greer Reader Brian Matula writes: "Some support the free distribution of needles to drug addicts to prevent the spread of AIDS. Great! Let's expand that principle and I give free ammunition to bank robbers, free switchblades to gang members and discount beer to DWI offenders . . . AIDS or no AIDS, how do you justify using tax money to subsidize drug peddlers and hopheads?" It is just this type of reasoning that has caused us to be the world's largest prison builder and trillions of dollars in debt. Let's not "waste" $20,000 a year providing clean needles to these "hopheads." Let's wait until they get AIDS so we can unload an average of $500,000 a person in public assistance and medical aid. Even the most hardened and self-serving among us should be able to see the rationale in providing clean needles to drug users. We're not doing it to make life pleasant for drug users. We're doing it because it's in our society's best interest to do so. Mark Greer Porterville, Calif.