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Thread: Providing drug users with free, sanitary needles?

  1. #1 Providing drug users with free, sanitary needles? 
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    We shouldn't provide drug users with sanitary needles!
    How can we knowingly and willingly hand people the means to break our own laws more safely? How can you arrest someone for using drugs, if you're the one who handed him the needle to do it with?
    So, if someone's found on the street with drugs, you can arrest him, but if someone's found at a clinic getting needles to do drugs, you have to HELP him?


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  3. #2  
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    In the end, the motive is probably practical instead of moralistic. If a druggie gets sick from a bad needle, they're going to show up in a hospital emergency room needing urgent care, and they probably won't be able to pay for the services, which means the rest of us will end up having to pay for it.

    From a purely self interested perspective, it's a smart move. Needles are comparatively much cheaper than paying to treat a sick person.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    It's not merely about lowering the load to the healthcare system. First of all, it allows the government access to people who would normally be out of sight. So, we get a chance to offer rehabilitation programs, and a safe injection spot for these people. Plenty of rich people can afford to get clean needles for their heroine, it is only the poor that end up getting infections from reusing and blood transmitted viruses from sharing. Secondly, it helps prevent the spread of diseases like Hepatitis and HIV which don't just stay amongst the drug users but gets spread to the people they have sex with.

    The world would be a better place if we weren't caught up in ideological arguments and were more concerned with practical solutions, like safe injection sites.
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    For a "drug addict"(post edited), the least concern is if the needles he is using are clean or not. His main concern is to get the drug in his system. The availability of free needles will be useless without the propper education program.
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    Repression and reactionary policies have failed time and and again, it is popular because it allows reactionary people to give themselves a good conscience by sweeping the issue under the rug and not having to actually think about the problem.

    If you make sniffing petroleum illegal its not going to solve the problem, if you make suicide illegal its not going to solve anything even if you make it a crime punishable by the death penalty.

    To solve a problem it is much better to examine and act on root causes as well as taking a broader view of related aspects and problems and their interaction.

    If making drug addiction illegal solved the problem there would be no drugs sold today, prohibition would have worked in the 20s instead of being the money train for organized crime, but reality provides ample evidence its not so. When you put someone in prison the person is not very productive so you waste that persons life and its potential productivity, and on top of that you allocate a lot of ressources, money, man hours to keeping them unproductive. These ressources are better spend in prevention. In addition, preventing the spread of HIV has a lot of benefits socially, you dont just help human beings that are addicted to drugs , you help others that could be infected down the line as well as the ressources that would be required to fix diseases that could have been avoided in the first place by using pragmatic policies.

    Drugs sould not be made illegal, they should be restricted.

    BTW, just providing clean needles is nothing to write home about, North American Opiate Medication Initiative (NAOMI Study) provides actual heroin as part of a medical treatment and the number of patients that break free of addiction and avoid criminal behavior is much better, so if your daughter or brother or someone you care about is addicted, such a program would provide a good shot at having the person back on their feet as a healthy productive person (much better then having the person waste away their life in jail with HIV to boot).
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  7. #6 Re: Providing drug users with free, sanitary needles? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valkyrie
    We shouldn't provide drug users with sanitary needles!
    The earlier replies have provided a nice range of very good reasons for such a program. I hope you can now see the value of such an approach.
    Quote Originally Posted by Valkyrie
    So, if someone's found on the street with drugs, you can arrest him, but if someone's found at a clinic getting needles to do drugs, you have to HELP him?
    You seem to object to helping these individuals. May I suggest you consider for a moment the nature of addiction. Addicts will rarely be able to break a habit without help. Do you genuinely wish to condemn them to a downward spiral of health and behaviour?
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo

    BTW, just providing clean needles is nothing to write home about, North American Opiate Medication Initiative (NAOMI Study) provides actual heroin as part of a medical treatment and the number of patients that break free of addiction and avoid criminal behavior is much better, so if your daughter or brother or someone you care about is addicted, such a program would provide a good shot at having the person back on their feet as a healthy productive person (much better then having the person waste away their life in jail with HIV to boot).
    I don't think anyone was suggesting it was. Methadone replacement therapy is nearly always required because of the severity of heroin withdrawal, or the more effective alternative of gradually decreasing heroin use. Where do people with a heroin addiction sign up for programs like that? At safe injection spots where they aren't worried about legal repercussions for their drug use.

    Clean needles, safe spots, and programs to help addicts kick the habit is all needed.
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  9. #8  
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    There's a genius song by Jeff Ott about this topic called "My Congressman," Jeff Ott is/was an avid atavist/song writer about tough issues like this, prostitution, molestation, alienation and homelessness.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMsRKpov9kE

    Quoting the lyrics

    "Drugs are everywhere, you can't stop them; It's not a law enforcement issue, addiction is a disease"

    and then he goes onto the chorus which is an explanation of a simple 3 step process on how to clean a needle



    It's a very complex issue, and I'm not using a song as support for any point of view. I don't know where I stand on the subject. But I think there is a lot to say about a culture when a significant portion prefers not to be conscious most of the time.
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    Society's drug problem should be adressed on two levels - criminal punishment and rehabilitation. That is, prosecuting producers and suppliers (arguably, the true criminals) and rather than persecuting users rehabilitating them.

    In adition to the forementioned reasons (particularly HIV transmission and access to rehabilitation), here in lies another reason to provide free needles and more over to not focus on prosecuting users. If users feel safe to aproach authorities for needles, they are more open and easily accessed to co-operating with authorities on hunting down the sources of drugs. A famous quote that I forget where I found went something along the lines of 'prosecuting users is like aproaching a fire by first throwing your fire extinguisher out the window, they're our best lead and evidence in fighting drug syndicates'.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    The world would be a better place if we weren't caught up in ideological arguments and were more concerned with practical solutions, like safe injection sites.
    Exactly, and getting rid of the ridiculous "solutions" like jail sentences for drug-related crimes. Not only is this yet another burden on our already overpopulated prison system, but incarceration is only serving to turn non-violent offenders into violent ones.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chenzah

    In adition to the forementioned reasons (particularly HIV transmission and access to rehabilitation), here in lies another reason to provide free needles and more over to not focus on prosecuting users. If users feel safe to aproach authorities for needles, they are more open and easily accessed to co-operating with authorities on hunting down the sources of drugs. A famous quote that I forget where I found went something along the lines of 'prosecuting users is like aproaching a fire by first throwing your fire extinguisher out the window, they're our best lead and evidence in fighting drug syndicates'.
    I like that you bring up HIV. It's important to remember that a lot of female drug addicts are going to become prostitutes, or they'll pick up sexual partners when they need a place to sleep for the night.
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  13. #12  
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    Then decriminalize prostitution and regulate that as well?
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    In a city like Vancouver it is. The police protect prostitutes from Bad Johns (e.g. serial killers!) but unfortunately also endanger prostitutes by confining (female) sex trade to one red light district which is also where the drugs are. Prior to this policy the red light district and "shooting gallery" were separate neighbourhoods. The cops literally taxied prostitutes to the designated new red light district, as directed by City Hall. This was in the early 80's just before AIDS took off.
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    Forum Sophomore An inconvenient lie's Avatar
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    i say with the exception of marijuana alcohol etc.. users major drug addicts should be sought and put in rehab by the state government.
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  16. #15  
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    inconveniate lie, what do you mean by "with the exception of marijuana and alcohol"?

    are you saying that they aren't severe plagues on society? or that it's not worth it to prevent people from becoming addicted to these drugs?

    both of these ideas are quite incorrect by just about any standards. although the affects of marijuana and alcohol are not as severe on users as those of cocaine, heroine, and crack, they still both have terrible affects on our global society.
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    I think anyone who looks at the data and the history of drug addiction will realise that making drugs illegal does not help at all.

    For certain kinds of addiction (eg. heroine) the best approach is to set up clinics with properly trained people, who will check over applicants, and diagnose whether they are addicts or not. If they are addicts, the clinic staff will inject them with the correct dose of clean heroine for free.

    This immediately kills the income earned by the drug pushers, and may make it uneconomic for pushers to create new addicts. It also removes the desperate need for addicts to turn to crime to pay for their fix. Addicts are getting clean drug and with sterile needles. Many of the health problems disappear. It means addicts are regularly visiting a clinic where good advise and proper treatment is available if and when the addict wants to quit.

    Drug use is inevitable. Every culture on Earth that learns how to brew alcoholic drinks will turn to those drinks, and a lot will become addicted, or abuse the alcohol. Even in Muslim countries where alcohol is illegal, an enormous lot of drinking goes on in secret.

    If alcohol is not available, people will turn to whatever is. Whether marijuana, khat, cocaine, or smoking dried banana peel.

    The best we can do is try to provide a measure of control, and help those who admit to needing help. We certainly cannot stop it.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by saul
    inconveniate lie, what do you mean by "with the exception of marijuana and alcohol"?

    are you saying that they aren't severe plagues on society?
    Hemp has been grown for millenia. It was banned following a mass hysteria in early 20th century.
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