Syringe exchange programs are accepted throughout the United States as part of a comprehensive approach to prevent infections like HIV, Hep B and Hep C among drug users and the innocent victims they expose to these deadly diseases. They are also the number one proven way that these addicts enter recovery.
So why do some people oppose them? While most people have benevolent intentions, some people claim that they oppose syringe exchange programs because they want injection drug users to die. This cruel sentiment has been expressed from time to time throughout the history of HIV prevention programs, as well as in recent cyberspace and blogosphere postings in conversations about the Texas legislation.
When discussing the Texas legislation, some people have advocated poisoning the drug user's needles with cyanide. Others have suggested ending their lives in other ways.
It's difficult to know what to say when a fellow Texan takes such a harsh position, condescending to the point that they claim human life is disposable. One approach is to decline to engage in this line of conversation.
Thankfully most Texans on both sides of the issue are interested in saving lives and preventing deadly diseases and the exposure of innocent victims. Most Texans believe in the ability of a person to change. In other words, fortunately the rest of Texas is having a respectful and interesting conversation about the issue this session.