Sunday, April 05, 2009

Wow, pretty powerful words here...

...from one William L. Martin, in today's Houston Chronicle:

Needle-exchange programs Christian thing to do
Though some sincerely question the scientific evidence supporting various forms of needle exchange, the major opposing argument continues to be, “It sends the wrong message.”
Before we accept that rationale, we need to think about the message we currently send: “We know a way to dramatically cut your chances of contracting a deadly disease, then spreading it to others, including your unborn children. It would also dramatically cut the amount of money society is going to have to spend on you and those you infect. But because we believe what you are doing is illegal, immoral and sinful, we are not going to do what we know works. You are social lepers and, as upright, moral, sincerely religious people, we prefer that you and others in your social orbit die.”
One could say that he's arguing the social benefit of a needle-exchange program outweighs its costs. And I think he's exactly right...but I wonder if he'd take the argument all the way to whatever form of drug legalization. After all, we see the social costs of the illegality of drugs all the time. And legalizing them would also not send a particularly good message either, but again, it's worth asking if the benefits of the status quo REALLY outweigh the costs in that arena. Of course you all know my answer already.