harm reduction, as a general principle, is something i believe very strongly in. i would like to think that as a person going through this world with my fellow humans i am actively seeking to make things less harmful, less hurtful, less difficult for others. at least i am consciously trying to do this.
to this end, i respect and support harm reduction coalition, an organization that seeks to provide clean syringes and other hygienic gear for drug abusers. if an addict comes into an HRC center with 10, 20, 50, whatever used syringes, those syringes are properly disposed of and he/she are given 10, 20, 50, whatever clean ones for free. most of these centers are manned by ex-addicts who have an intimate knowledge of what it is like to shoot a drug.
***as an aside, i'm not advocating injecting drugs--i'm advocating keeping people as healthy as possible with the choices they make, no matter how much i may disagree with them.***
needle exchanges are a small step but a critical one: the idea is to keep the addicts (and their families, and their injecting partners, and all of the above's sexual partners) as healthy as possible physically until the time that the addict is ready to get clean.
or, to break it down into simple economics: syringes cost about a dollar apiece, whereas HIV costs upwards of a quarter-million dollars per person over the course of his/her life.
if you're interested in what HRC is like, as i'm guessing the vast majority (if not all) of my readers have no need of their services, please watch the following video:
and to answer your burning suspicious question, no, i am not a former drug abuser, intravenous or otherwise. i'm not an addict of any kind, in fact (and, no, that's not denial). my exposure to addicts came after college working at a halfway house for women who were trying to reintegrate back into their previous lives without the drugs--and they weren't always successful. i learned quickly that the person is not the disease.