Junkies don’t want Aids. They want to use clean needles. Clean needles eliminate the Aids problem in injectable drug addicts. So, logically, let’s provide clean needles! A non-brainer. But then comes drug policy, moralistic prejudice, (unconscious) wish to punish the sinners with Aids, police arrest for needle possession. Result: addicts use dirty needles and get HIV.
Legitimate Drug Injection Kit (Wikipedia)
Human Irrationality, dogmas, blindness at its best.“People do stupid things. That’s what spreads HIV.”
Needle exchange is an even clearer solution then condom use efforts. Because condoms are unpleasant. Clean needles are not even detracting from drug “pleasure”.
Our “morality” is outdated & immoral. We need updated morality.
Drug War, morality, religion, sexual morality etc prevent needle exchanges, thus cause HIV infection and deaths. Call it insanity. Call it suffering and death caused by false outdated stupid “morality”. Dogma, blindness, self-deception ….. We believe in our 2000year old holy books. They were very good for their times. But no biblical author knew about HIV virus transmission or drug addiction therapy. In later posts I will write about Peter Singer’s utilitarism as a help to guide our morals.
Elisabeth Pisani @ TED
“People do stupid things. That’s what spreads HIV.” [ . . . ] Now, let’s look at it from a policy maker’s point of view. This is a really easy problem. For once, your incentives are aligned. We’ve got what’s rational for public health. You want people to use clean needles, and junkies want to use clean needles. So we could make this problem go away simply by making clean needles universally available and taking away the fear of arrest.
Now, the first person to figure that out and do something about it on a national scale was that well-known, bleeding heart liberal Margaret Thatcher. And she put in the world’s first national needle exchange program and other countries followed suit, Australia, The Netherlands and few others, and in all of those countries, you can see, not more than four percent ever became infected with HIV, of injectors.
In places that didn’t do this, New York City for example, Moscow, Jakarta, we’re talking, at its peak, one in two injectors infected with this fatal disease. Now, Margaret Thatcher didn’t do this because she has any great love for junkies. She did it because she ran a country that had a national health service. So, if she didn’t invest in effective prevention, she was going to have pick up the costs of treatment later on, and obviously those are much higher. So she was making a politically rational decision. Now, if I take out my public health nerd glasses here, and look at these data, it seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it. But in this country, where the government apparently does not feel compelled to provide health care for citizens, we’ve taken a very different approach. So what we’ve been doing in the United States is reviewing the data, endlessly reviewing the data. So these are reviews of hundreds of studies by all the big muckety-mucks of the scientific pantheon in the United States, and these are the studies that show needle programs are effective, quite a lot of them. ted.com/talks/view/id/818
Rational Publich Healty Policy demands
- allow needle exchange to make addiction less dangerous
- consider furnishing cleaner, cheaper, less harmful drugs
Of course, if we furnish needles, we should also furnish anti-addiction therapy, public information, etc. Some think one should not spend money to prevent addicts from getting AIDS: these addicts pass on AIDS to non-addicted innocent partners, who then could pass it on to you and me. And once an addict has AIDS, society helps to treat the medical AIDS cases with massive financial investments. Needles are cheaper!
We need morality and public action to reign in disease & death through drugs
We need to try to reduce drug damage by information policy, advertising, influencing public opinion, education, ………