.Letter to the Editor: Twisted Logic

The founder of the nonprofit Harm Reduction Coalition claims (Letters, GT, 12/22) that “fewer lives would have been lost to preventable overdose” had the Board of Supervisors and “other male leadership” been more agreeable to their suggestions on how to run the county syringe program.

Despite claiming that harm-reduction programs are “scientifically proven” to save lives, how can one believe that freely handing out needles and associated drug paraphernalia to addicts would help prevent overdoses? Common sense would seem to indicate just the opposite. And following that twisted logic, maybe supplying guns to those prone to suicide might help save some lives too.

Jim Sklenar

Santa Cruz

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  1. Regarding the letter to the editor “Twisted Logic” it does not seem to put forth either logic or common sense as the author intended. The author chooses to argue from the vantage point of their world view vs. taking the simple, common sense step of researching the issue and offering a clear and better defined opinion. “Common sense” as articulated by my then 11-year-old daughter is “just Google it.” First item I found was https://www.cdc.gov/ssp/syringe-services-programs-summary.html. Which points out some logical and common sense things that “comprehensive” needle exchange programs do. For example: “Nearly 30 years of research has shown that comprehensive SSPs are safe, effective, and cost-saving, do not increase illegal drug use or crime, and play an important role in reducing the transmission of viral hepatitis, HIV and other infections.” Beyond this report common sense would lead me to believe that IV drug users are encouraged to turn in their syringes for new ones (wow less needles on trails, beaches, etc.), less likely to reuse or share needles (ah, harm reduction is also “common sense”!”), and get this: per the CDC, needle users engaging in needle exchange become 5x more likely than non-participants to enroll in treatment services. Why? Because the staff exchanging the syringes are doing more than just exchanging syringes, they are building relationships, offering information and support about alternatives that are open to the individual caught in the cycle of addiction. Common sense would lead us to examine and ask if our local Needle Exchange programs that are “comprehensive” as described by the CDC. Common sense that does not lead to the common good is not common sense.


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