Clean needles for addicts

August 16, 1991|By The (Nashville) Tennessean

THE NATIONAL Commission on AIDS has endorsed needle exchange programs among intravenous drug users in an effort to reduce the spread of the disease. It is a logical, common sense approach to the problem. The Bush administration, however, wants nothing to do with such programs. It thinks needle exchanges will only increase drug use by American citizens.

One of the criticisms raised by the administration is that there is no scientific evidence showing that needle exchanges reduce risk-taking behavior. But neither is there evidence that needle exchanges cause drug use to increase. If exchanges save lives, they're a shot in the arm to the war on AIDS. If their benefits are ignored, that only means more illness -- and more death.

Clean needles help give them one.

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