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Re: “Guest Opinion: VOICES

I was pleasantly surprised to hear about a needle exchange program located in Tucson some two years ago and attempted to start a regular visiting pattern. I went once, never to return.

The fact that the location was over thirty minutes away incurred a large cost in gas and time. Additionally, I could never get up early back then. The small amount of equipment I received did not, it seemed, to warrant the cost. And that was when I could still drive.

However, after recently relapsing and missing an intravenous dose of an opiate mixture I learned that perhaps it should be viewed as an investment in health. I am still nauseous and quite in shock over the incision and drainage process. The worst part was the overwhelming smell of sweet, sulfur-like, acrid, putrid, rotting and infected blood/pus mixture oozing after initially bursting from the large, red mass. It was so overwhelming I was gagging and still have the foulness seeping from my nasal mucosa.

Needless to say, a small investment of time and money could have prevented this common problem.

I am just curious how many more individuals would be willing to participate in safe needle exchange if larger quantities of needles could be purchased or acquired and if multiple locations were offered in strategic locations. Perhaps local pharmacies or hospitals could start small collection and exchange operations.

However, if one-hundred count boxes could be purchased without so much strict regulation, many users could have convenient, local access within walking distance. Currently, it would take me well over five hours to walk from home to obtain sterile equipment at the location I visited some years ago. Walgreens is ten minutes.

Maybe a rideshare could be established as means to help individuals wishing to commit to harm reduction but do not have the means.

Its great to see general awareness and promotion of harm reduction becoming more mainstream. I congratulate you on your willingness and courage to discuss a seemingly taboo subject and your own struggle so openly and adeptly.

Approaching 21 I am very disheartened about my previous three years and subsequent lack of interest in health let alone any other issues. A visit to the exchange is indeed warranted as I do not know when I will stop chipping. Its life in the extremes. My previous life in Honors, AP, NHS, UofA studies and monetary success have become wasted and symbolized by my recent wound (to my ego as well); all my hard earned work spent through the needles eye only to be converted into a toxic infestation that the body cannot remove. However, unlike a simple I&D there is no magic scalpel to cut my opiate fondness to be drained and excised.

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Posted by retrograid on 06/08/2010 at 1:11 AM

Re: “Voices: Clinical Addiction

Buprenorphine/nalaxone treatment, Suboxone, offers a much easier outpatient treatment of opiate addiction. Monthly prescriptions can be brought home and used to quickly detox in a short period of time. Maintenence can also be employed. The downside is patient compliance.

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Posted by retrograid on 06/08/2010 at 12:38 AM

Re: “Guest Commentary

Gary, you obviously missed any and all of the logic for the argument for legalization. Simply, to correct your "logic," the cartels would be rendered useless. No drug user would need to "meet the man," supplied by cartels, to get their fix. They could buy it at the local pharmacy and skip the whole illicit production/distribution chain altogether rendering the currently illegal networks useless. It makes simple sense.

You argue the "moral" issues rather than side to logic. With legalization of all drugs the illegal demand drops to practically zero. With no illegal demand there is no legal production. This is simple economics 101 from high school; which you should brush up on.

Additionally, revenue could be generated at the state and federal level via taxes, like alcohol and cigarettes.

Did you also know that alcohol kills more people than all illegal drugs combined? Think about the morality of the sale of the mentioned solvent and its "legality." Tobacco is another offender with lung cancer.

Posted by retrograid on 06/08/2010 at 12:33 AM

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