Monday, July 30, 2007

Hand Out 2 Million Free Needles: What Could Go Wrong?

San Francisco gave out 2 million free needles last year, to ensure that drug users don't spread AIDS and other diseases. Now the City Parks Department has to collect several hundred needles per day in Golden Gate Park:

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who has picked up needles in the park and who co-authored the bill allowing them to be sold over the counter, said it's up to the city to keep the parks syringe-free -- either through more cleanups or tighter controls to make sure needles are returned.

"We need to come up with a better system,'' Mirkarimi said.

After we called City Hall and started asking questions, Newsom agreed.

"You're raising a legitimate question about the program, no doubt about it," Newsom said, adding that he's asked Health Director Mitch Katz to find a better way to collect the used syringes.

"Don't get me wrong, I still support the program," Newsom said. "But so for we've been all about distribution. We need to start looking at collection as well."

So confronted by a problem created by an excess of government, the answer is more government?

Why not just put a 10 cent deposit on them? That's the preferred solution for cans and bottles, right? Or are you concerned that drug users can't afford a 10 cent surcharge each time they take a hit?

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