Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | JUNE 09, 2011 7:20 AM

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Syringe exchange programs are cost-effective, life-saving

To some, syringe access programs may resemble a counterproductive approach to the nationwide crisis of injection-drug use. However, the method endorsed in the Global Commission on Drug Policy’s 2011 report is shown to not only reduce transmission rates of blood-borne diseases, it also creates short and long term savings in a time of economic recession.

For new HIV patients, the lifetime medical care cost on average is $385,200. If that money were put toward syringe access programs, it would account for the prevention of at least 30 new HIV infections.

Countless government-funded studies on syringe-exchange programs have shown time and time again that under such programs, rates of transmission decrease without increasing drug use. As a taxpayer, I would much rather pay for a 10-cent syringe than a $350,000 liver transplant that could have been avoided if the individual used a sterile syringe.

Jeffrey Quittman
Drug Policy Alliance Shambron Fellow
Los Angeles

Senator’s comments out of line

Sen. Shawn Hamerlinck seems to be unfamiliar with the U.S. Constitution. That document provides citizens the right to petition for redress of grievances.

This isn’t hard to understand: Legislators must listen to their constituents, even when disagreements occur.

It is concerning when political leaders are ignorant of the basic framework of the institutions they serve.

Mike Norton
UI alumnus

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