Tuesday, July 11, 2006 | I am a twenty five year veteran substance abuse counseling professional. I believe, without reservation, that needle exchange is a very good thing for the following reasons:

1. Access to the addict which may begin a conversation that will result in a referral to treatment.

2. Harm reduction is the sense of reducing the need to share needles and to use damaged needles.

3. Reduced public exposure to discarded needles.

4. A modest step toward treating addiction as more a public health issue and less as a criminal issue.

I am also a recovered IV drug user who has not had to use in that way since 1969. After nine years of almost daily continual use, I personally know full well the hazards of IV drug use including Hepatitis-C and several infections that went into abscesses. Needle exchange will over the long term reduce some of the over-all costs associated with addiction; it will reduce exposure to HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis-C and B as well.

This is a good endeavor and should be supported by all who are really concerned about improving this deplorable situation.

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