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I was horrified at the empathy provoked toward drug addicts in your Sept. 11 article “Giving Junkies the Needle.”
Whatever happened to the “war on drugs”the catch phrase of the ’80s? Remember the commercial with the grisly fried egg that popped and spewed in a cast-iron pan and the voice-over that said, “This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”
These phrases, commonly tossed around in the ’80s, and their well-intended goals, lost mainstream financial support in favor of a more a trendy ’90s diseaseAIDS.
The national obsession with AIDS has in fact overshadowed and absorbed the spotlight for drug rehabilitation. The needle-exchange program creates stumbling blocks in front of progress, to the point that we ignore that this solution contributes to the passé problemdrug abuse.
And as a Band-Aid solution to prevent the infection of more people with AIDS, needle vans roam the streets and offer free syringes to drug addictseven at the risk of keeping the junkies hooked.
But supplying needles to drug addicts is done under the assumption that the drug user, someone whose mind is clouded with drugs, will practice good judgment and use the clean needles. Why give them so much power?
The problem with temporary solutions, like needle exchange, is that they never answer the real question. What happens when AIDS gets boring and a new, even deadlier, disease storms into our lives? Will AIDS then be passé, too?
Needle exchange undeniably reduces the spread of AIDS, but the program also puts stumbling blocks in front of the progress for drug prevention.
And leaves me wondering: Who gave so much power to the treatment of AIDS?