Thoughts on the Needle Exchange Program
By T.C. Fontaine
September 15, 1999
The Needle Exchange Program is an issue that our local community has been dealing with for some time. With only four facilities available in Massachusetts it is hard to believe that the program has enough support. Most proponents believe that these programs are crucial to stopping the spread of disease among the drug-using population. Those in opposition, share views from it increases actual drug usage in the population, to the addicts sell them on the streets in exchange for more drugs.
Opponents have been accused of not getting the fact that the availability of clean needles prevents disease. I would think that perhaps it is not that they don't get it; it's that they don't buy it or they don't care. These programs and the people behind them are in essence validating illegal behavior.
When we set up laws, they should be enforced and there needs to be a consequence for breaking them. The absence of law enforcement means anarchy and disorder. The Needle Exchange Program is basically saying that the views and laws toward drug use are wrong.
If I am a police officer, why should I set up a drug bust and risk getting killed, when in the next community, a bunch of people are handing out needles to addicts! Better yet, why can't I just set up shop in front of the Needle Exchange building and arrest everybody in possession of illegal drugs while I'm there.
How do we justify this program to our children? Doing drugs is either illegal or not. Right or wrong. We spend money in our communities to run D.A.R.E. programs and then dismantle them in one swoop.
Whether you support or oppose the Needle Exchange Program, it must be noted that the contradictory nature of it and the promotion of illegal activity are this program's largest obstacles in society. What comes next - handing out guns to gang members?
This article copyright © 1999 T.C. Fontaine and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author. All rights reserved.