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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Tax dollars wasted on needle exchange

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Washington, D.C., is far from the ideal community to serve as our nation's capital. The city is near the top of the crime list and near the bottom of the education achievement category. And now our nation's capital has yet another honor - it has reached "modern epidemic" status for the explosion in AIDS cases.

Nationwide, on average 14 people per 100,000 population have the AIDS virus. That percentage explodes to 128 AIDS cases per 100,000 in Washington, D.C. And 80 percent of those cases are among the minority population there.

Health officials in Washington continue to ride high atop the knuckle-head category. They continue to say the problem there is because of a lack of information on the disease. Well, here's the bottom line. It's not a lack of information that is spreading the disease. The cause is the high number of drug users who share contaminated needles, contract the disease and then spread it even further.

To combat this most obvious conclusion, the District of Columbia has returned to an old program that exchanges needles for drug users with your tax dollars. The needle exchange program offers clean needles to drug users in exchange for their used syringes.

The program was halted nine years ago when federal officials blocked federal spending for the needle exchange program. But with Democrats back in control of Congress, the needle exchange program has a new life.

So there you have the Democrat's solution in a nutshell. Instead of addressing the drug problem through increased law enforcement, let's just accept the heroin and cocaine problem and make it safer by giving away free, clean needles. That should stem the increase in AIDS cases. But it says absolutely nothing about the drug problem nor any potential solution other than acceptance.

AIDS is most often a self-inflicted disease. There are exceptions such as children born to mothers who have AIDS or the occasional contaminated blood during a transfusion. But by and large, the disease is self-inflicted. Now that doesn't mean we ignore the AIDS issue nor halt spending millions to arrive at a cure.

But exchanging needles to drug users seems a direction gone wrong. One Canadian study says the exchange programs promote overdoses and have little impact on the spread of the disease. In short, we just don't know. I'm aware that other communities have similar programs. And if they work, then that's wonderful. But it will not stop me from voicing objection to a program that takes my tax dollars and provides free needles to drug addicts.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen