Repeal of the needle laws will also be an act of =science, a recognition that addicts are human beings. Debing that moral precept has already cost us dearly.
—Edward M Brecher
Mayor Dinkins declared when he closed the pilot program, "Providing needles to addicts is to sur-render to drug abuse."
We all have a belly button, and we can all get AIDS.
—Dulcey Consuelo Davidson
It is just possible that the greatest threat to the survivial of humankind on this small planet may not be nuclear war or any of a thousand other possible threats but rather a disease virtually un-known a few years ago — acquired immune deficiency syndrome. There is a strong connection between drug abuse and AIDS since in the United States and many other western countries the major source for the transmission of this fatal disease is the injecting addict, not the active homosexual.
Many of these countries, led by the United Kingdom and The Netherlands, have taken the position that the prevention of AIDS is more important than the prevention of drug abuse. As a result in England, Holland, Australia and Canada, to name a few examples, there are many programs that seek to keep drug users alive and healthy even though they are using drugs. In such countries, the governments have started to encourage the medical profession to provide a wide range of as-sistance, which in some cases may include pure medicinal drugs, clean needles, condoms, advice on safe injecting, and advice on safe sex.
Such programs operate in scattered parts of the United States often in violation of various federal, state, and local laws. They also operate in fear of discovery and exposure from federal officials, es-pecially U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) who is known to violently oppose such programs. Ac-cordingly, AIDS barely figures in the drug strategy documents of President Bush and Drug Czar Bennett.
As AIDS spreads dramatically around the world, America's friends in other countries look at us and wonder why extremism is able to dominate the drug and AIDS control policy of the great American democracy. In their eyes, the United States is committing national suicide.