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March 08, 2005



Needle exchange is just a political ploy to seem compassionate. If they would have an real compassion and really car about people, instead of sticking druggies in prison you would stick them in treatment centers and hoped it helped.


That druggie that gets AIDS using dirty needles may then pass it on to sex partners that are not using drugs. Stopping druggies from getting AIDS is not just about saving druggies from their own stupidity, it is about limiting the spread of AIDS to everyone, including you.


"How can a rational government on the one hand say an actviity is illegal, and on the other hand give out equipment to help people engage in said illegal activity?"

What contradiction is there in saying, "I don't want you to do X, but if you still choose to do X, you ought to do it in this way"?

For instance, a parent might say to their teenager: I don't want you drinking, and I'll punish you if I ever find out. But if you DO drink, I want you to call me for a ride instead of driving yourself.

Tom Hanna

I'm sympathetic to your theory but see a couple of issues. First, is that outside the needle exchange programs there is no legal way for the junkies to get clean needles - they can't go to a pharmacy and buy them, even though every pharmacy stocks them for diabetics, because a prescription is required.

Perhaps more important is a realistic look at the costs of needles versus the costs of AIDS. I suspect that the hard cost of one of these junkies, typically an indigent, getting AIDs is sufficient to pay for tens of thousands of free needles. While many people will agree with you in the abstract that we should "let them die" when it comes to needle exchanges, those same people will not be inclined to simply let them die (and suffer) once they contract AIDs, so any real world look at the situation has to consider the cost of the inevitable care for the AIDs victims.

http://www.tom-hanna.org is, in fact, a valid URL.

Libertarian Man of Mystery

there is no legal way for the junkies to get clean needles - they can't go to a pharmacy and buy them

Well that's the real problem. Just allow needles to be sold over the counter and there's no need for any government programs.

Well that's the real problem. Just allow needles to be sold over the counter and there's no need for any government programs.
Good lord, if needles were available over the counter, someone might stick one in their eye! Their eye, man!!

Okay, of course, that's the common sense solution. It's a wonder that anyone opposes it.

xx y

They are already legal OTC in some states, Maryland for instance. If they aren't legal, one could have always bribe a diabetic, or go to the Ag supply store. Remember though, you are talking about people who are dumb enough to start a habit that consists of buying some weird powder and cooking it up to shoot in their veins. Not the smartest people in the world.

The needle exchange solution, however, does a few things. It helps prevent people from sharing needles, which cuts down on even more people getting infected and transmitting that to females (almost always females) with sexual activity. It keeps needles from being discarded as litter, where it might stick into some kid (because you need to exchange it), and it lets the person running the exchange try to direct the addict towards treatment.

Were talking junkies here, do you really think the average addict is going to buy a sterile pack of 144 needles, use a clean one each time s/he cooks up the junk, tossing the used ones into a 2 liter bottle, which when full s/he fills to the to with laundry bleach and disposes in the trash? That's as likely to happen, as people not having kids unless they can afford to send them to school.


(read the comments)

If you are willing to pay for other people's kids to go to school, why are you against paying for needles for addicts?

Now who is the wacky libertarian?


I, for one, am opposed to paying for other people's kids to go to school.



The problem is the government can't "stick" somebody in a treatment facility. It can be offered, but a person must go there voluntarily and complete the program.

You do have an excellent point about seeming "compassionate". That's why I foresee drug legalization without a strong libertarian influence as another excuse to construct several more monstrous government programs. After all, addicts will probably qualify for all sorts of benefits under ADA or similar legislation.

Amy Alkon

Public. Health. Crisis.

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