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January 6th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

NYC health dept. needled over 'heroin how-to' flier

By Alina Cho, CNN

Critics are calling it nothing more than a "how-to" guide for drug addicts. But New York City's health department thinks a controversial flier that's being handed out to heroin users might just save a few lives.

The 16-page pamphlet is called "Take Charge, Take Care: 10 tips for safer use." It’s a virtual heroin how-to guide, complete with illustrations and detailed tips.

"Jump up and down to show your veins, find your vein before you try to inject it. Where's the health concern there? If you miss the vein, you might get a bruise? That's an egregious misuse of taxpayer money," says NYC Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr.

The brainchild of New York City's health department, the 70,000 fliers were paid for with 32,000 taxpayer dollars.

"I think it sends out the message, and the wrong message, that heroin use can be safe. Heroin use cannot be safe; heroin use can be deadly," says John Gilbride, special agent in charge, New York DEA.

That's exactly why New York's health department says these tips are crucial. Accidental overdose is the fourth-leading cause of death in the city, claiming more than 600 lives a year.

Another big issue: HIV and AIDS. One-third of Americans living with HIV are infected through injection drug use. One reason why the health department also encourages users not to share needles, but adds there's no healthy use of drugs, just helpful information.

“The messages are clear. It's about getting help to stop using drugs. It's about preventing overdose. It's about preventing HIV infection and hepatitis infections. That's the context,” says Dr. Adam Karpati, exec. deputy commissioner, NYC Dept. of Health.

The health department says the $32,000 they spent on the fliers is actually a drop in the bucket when you consider how much money is saved by preventing infections. Over a lifetime, treatments can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per person.

The health department says not teaching people how to shoot up safely is turning your back on reality. Meaning you can try to tell someone to stop using drugs, but unless they're ready, they won't.

Filed under: Controversy
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Autumn

    If you do heroin and you're not ready to get clean then it is best to know how to safely use heroin so you reduce you're risk of obtaining a disease or overdosing.

    January 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  2. Alicia

    I think its a help b.c it may help lessen the spread of HIV and AIDS among herion users. its clear that they also need rehab but this is a step in the right direction in my opinion.

    January 15, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  3. Mary

    For you hateful people who want heroin addicts to die, let me ask whether you feel the same about those with other addictions. In the name of increasing state revenue, our governor is encouraging us to gamble by allowing more gaming into the state. I have no problem with someone who likes to gamble now and then, but there are some people who just can't handle a little gambling. They can gamble away the rent money just as easily as a heroin addict can spend it on drugs. So, should we just shoot those with gambling addictions and put them out of our misery? Oh, I forgot. The government approves of gambling, so it must be all right to become addicted to it. The only addictions we don't approve of are the ones the government doesn't approve of.

    January 12, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  4. keith

    Plain Fact
    Most heroin OD's are not from people who are just getting into shooting dope. Its the old addict that is trying to stay clean. A user who knows very well how to stick a needle in his arm. If they want to do somethign good spend money on giving addicts on the street Suboxone. One good thing medical science has done in the last 10 years. Telling people how to shove a needle in their arm properly smells with good intentions doing a stupid thing a in a ignorant bureaucracy.
    Want to make a pamphlet, show the pic of before and after heroin with statistic of junkies. Jail institution and death.
    Silly like the 3 stooges making a heroin awareness add.

    January 10, 2010 at 12:43 am |
  5. Gary

    New York is following the philosophy of "harm reduction" In 1986 when our government was saying "just say no" New Yorks HIV infection rose by 100%. London started handing out syringes and they're infection rate fell to less than 10%

    January 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  6. J.D.

    i just read the pamphlet and it address reality as it is rather than how the alarmists wish it were. People are doing heroin, and the best way for prevention is to educate on the dangers of use and to inform current users of the safest way to do it while encouraging addiction counseling.
    The pamphlet does not glorify heroin use and I can't possibly see a non-user, after reading it, saying "wow, heroin sounds AWESOME!"

    January 8, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  7. Fred Evil

    The money spent on these fliers will be recouped when 2-3 of the recipients don't end up getting publicly funded emergency healthcare for an infection or similar ailment.

    Furthermore, the continued vilification, demonization and incarceration of folks who harm no one but themselves is incredibly counter-productive, but those in charge won't tell you that. Their jobs depend upon the continue growth of the prison INDUSTRY. Since governments have started privatizing them, it's big business, and lobbyists are pushing for longer prison sentences, and steeper penalties.

    But they don't actually HELP. After a futile forty year 'War on Drugs,' they are just as prolific as ever. We haven't driven drugs from a single state, or even a lone city. Yet we spend tens of billions of dollars every year keeping 1.1 MILLION American citizens behind bars. And what good does putting them in prison do? These are non-violent 'criminals,' whose only crime was a little self-abuse. If they don't hurt anyone else, whose business is it what they do?

    All outlawing drugs does is put them into the hands of outlaws. As they are unregulated and untaxed, we are making the Mexican Cartels RICH by making them the only competition in the business. We did the same thing during the last failed Prohibition, when we handed the alcohol market to the Mafia.

    It didn't work then, it hasn't, isn't, and won't work now.

    January 7, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  8. P Fudge

    Helping heroin addicts overdose, (quickly.) would be a great humanitarian service to the >99% of us who are not junkies. It would be like brushing your teeth to kill plaque germs. Vaccination to prevent flu and other communicable diseases. We don't find it politically incorrect to slaughter vermin, unless they are human vermin. The health costs saved, the violence saved, the slowing of the spread of needle diseases, the deterrent affect toward the young of a few thousand dead junkies done in by some powerful hotshots.

    Please think of the good PEOPLE and mourn not the virulent malaise of junkieness.

    January 7, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
  9. Pedro

    Maybe they can make a step by step pamphlet for Suicide next. I know a few people who have screwed that up.

    January 7, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  10. Cathrine

    I have trouble believing that someone who cares so little for their own health that they're shooting up on drugs, is going to bother to follow the information anyway. It's not going to be a priority for them.

    January 7, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  11. Pascha

    Anyone who has ever tried to care, intervene or get help for a drug addict, as I have, knows this one thing: When an addict is using drugs, he or she has no common sense at all–and all the "how-to be a safe consumer of illegal drugs" in the world will not protect them from themselves. Same thing applies to abuse of prescription drugs. My sister was a nurse–a very good one–who became a prescription drug addict, and a strict adherent to safety and cleanliness–she when was sober. When she was rooting after a fix (she dissolved her Demerol and shot it up to enhance the effect), she would steal used needles from the hazmat containers in a hospital room. It was pathetic. The only time materials such as this have an impact is when they're sober–and planning their next fix. It's a waste of taxpayer dollars.

    January 7, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  12. Joe

    I am a recovering addict (sober for 4 years) and I think this is a GOOD thing. Normal 9-5 people DO NOT know that there are junkies everywhere its just you dont see them. Not all addicts are homeless, many blend into society however many addicts lose their lives, spread HIV etc and dont even know it. Many addicts are intelligent (i got honor roll and have a bachelors degree) and many are going to continue using until they hit rock bottom and realize their life is a catatrophe (for me it was a awful hospital visit that woke me up) but since many addicts are going to continue using for a while they might as well do it in the safest way possible. Good Job NYC, by the way if there are any addicts reading this now GET INTO A METHADONE or SUBOXONE PROGRAM ASAP. Once you are in the program you will not have cravings, you have a steady clean reliable source and you will not committ risky crime behavior to feed your habit. Help yourself and your family and clean yourself up, its worth it, trust me ive been there and got out of it and am much better today for it.

    January 7, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  13. jay williams

    This approach to drug addiction is common in Australia: It's called "Harm Minimization". the idea is that preserving the addict's relative quality of life is humane. Once the addict has HIV due to sharing needles, or has had a fatal overdose, irreversable harm has been done. And heroin doesn't lend itself well to recreational use: Users tend to be addicts.
    Concerns that the fliers will encourage drug use or help otherwise clueless would-be users figure out how to do heroin are silly and uninformed.
    The eventual goal of harm minimization programs is to move the addict to methodone, then wean the addict off of drugs if possible. Makes sense to me.

    January 7, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  14. Martin B.

    I would even go on to state or city heath benefits for any hobo drug user. Nothing at all. If you choose not to be a member of society then don't expect anything from society.
    We are far better off spending the money on more worthy patients and children.

    January 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
  15. Stephen Wilson

    Mrs. have "bought in" to politcal correctness with your comment that you could "see both sides" this morning on the herion pamplet report. No doubt, this is what is wrong with our society. We are so afraid of offending someone in this day and time that it has affected our own security.

    Here is something to investigate. Find out if the Koran says that it's O.K. to lie if it furthers the Islamic cause. What do you think this opens up?

    January 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  16. AJ

    I cant believe there are people out there who actually think this is a good idea!!! ARE YOU INSANE? first and foremost, if you are stupid enough to do heroin and you overdose, then good riddance!!! dont give me this "disease" crap, drug addicts choose to put that needle in their arm for the first time! and what if a kid gets his hands on one of these fliers? it shows that kid that its safe to do heroin, and here's how! absolutely ridiculous, do wonder our country is in the crapper.

    January 7, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  17. Mike

    Why waste time and money? Especially now that there is supposedly such a shortage of money in the government that we have to borrow billions from China. I think that it is unfair to our youth that this is how the government chooses to combat the war on drugs. I think that if you are too stupid to stop or seek help, you certainly are too stupid to read a pamphlet on how to do drugs the "right" way.

    January 7, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  18. Ellis

    Seems pretty simple. This sort of thing gets paid for out of a voluntary fund. You want something like this done, you pony up the bucks. The pamphlets get printed. Not enough money, it doesn't get done. People who don't want their money going for such things don't have it going
    for such things.

    January 7, 2010 at 10:04 am |
  19. Jess

    People seem to forget that once a person uses heroin, they have given up hope on their life. They don't care if they die or spread disease at that point. They're unhappy and are seeking relief from it, they know the consequences but use anyway often welcoming those consequences. This pamphlet will never change that. I know because I've been there done that and fortunately was able to move on.

    January 7, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  20. Dave

    Addiction is a disease, and should be treated as such. I commend the efforts of New York City in taking steps to acknowledge this fact.

    January 7, 2010 at 7:06 am |
  21. keith

    when you think about how drug addicts impact the health care systems, its critical that at least you give them information that can assist and not be a total strain on the health care system. The challenge here is that once you try to help one set of ppl, especially those who may have been seen to cause this on themsleves, then there is an argument that you also have to help other vulnerable legit groups.

    January 7, 2010 at 6:42 am |
  22. Robert

    The money would have been better spent on health care for poor children. There is a limited amount of tax money, and we need to learn to make appropriate priority decisions. Each decision maker needs to ask: "should I spend this money on this pamphlet or towards insulin for a poor type 1 diabetic child?" or a similar trade-off.

    January 7, 2010 at 6:39 am |
  23. Katie

    The biggest flaw I find with this "How To" guide is that a heroin addict is actually expected to read a 16 page guide...

    January 7, 2010 at 6:33 am |
  24. K Newman

    Ask yourselves, if heroin were to suddenly become available in a legally controlled manner would you want to run down to the store and try it? Of course not. Why if it is now legal? Because you are educated about the potential problems of having a heroin addiction and you are not willing to take the risks. Ultimately that is the only solution to heroin and other drug addictions, education. It seems a large number of people in this country believe that law enforcement and the criminal justice system is the answer but since Nixon initiated the "War on Drugs" nonsense in the 70s drugs have become more pure and more available not to mention that black market drug dealers do not check for age. If the police get even the kingpins of a drug distribution network they will be readily replaced by the next guy wanting to make the kind of money that prohibition creates. The only answers that really work to control the problem are education about the drugs, and a controlled legal regulatory framework to help those addicted. Everything else which has been tried since the 70s has created powerful cartels off the money generated and furthered the problem.

    January 7, 2010 at 6:03 am |
  25. madison vielo

    I dong agree with this, pamphlets on how to properly do drugs is a wise idea. Your actually applauding drug addicts and soon to be drug addicts that its ok to do this as long as you do it this way. No !!! its not acceptable. There is no good way of doing things and we should not be applauding to their addictions. You save lives by assisting and offering alternatives, choices. For people to stop addiction and live a normal life.

    January 7, 2010 at 5:48 am |
  26. Sanjose Mike

    The single most important thing to an addict is getting his/her next fix and getting it injected as fast as possible. Secondarily, they don't want it stolen, so will proceed to the injection ASAP. Everything...I mean everything and anything else is simply not relevant to them.

    Early in their drug exposure phase, they learn to to inject hard to find veins, anywhere they can find them. This is vitally important to them because gradually their veins collapse, infect, become obtunded and useless.

    Hygiene is just not on their minds. It's not that they are ignorant of it, but any efforts made to improve hygiene involve it taking longer to get a fix injected. This increases the risk that their fix can be stolen, which to them is a tragedy.

    Saving lives is important and helpful. But the response to Dopamine is so utterly involving to them, that there is simply nothing else of any importance to them.

    sanjosemike (retired physician)

    January 7, 2010 at 2:47 am |
  27. rob2tall

    I have a far better idea-
    Give heroin away with a lethal overdose built right in.That way with no demand -theres no need for supply.
    This is proof ohf how screwed up our drug policies are in America.
    Law enforcement bends over backwards to bust pot users-but city officials supply heroin addicts with methadone or free syringes and instructions on how to inject heroin?
    Why not just legalize and tax all drugs.Those dumb enough to shoot up can go do it.
    Perhaps inact a law that says if your od'ing on heroin-you can't get any medical aid-but of course some will say it in humane..
    we need to make it a death penalty for sales,transportation and posession of heroin-problem solved.
    I do not support any program that tells you how to do this.
    This is BS!

    January 6, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  28. bill

    US controls Afghan poppy fields, arrests border guards who shoot drug smugglers, hands out free needles and prints how-to pamphlets... what was the question again?

    January 6, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  29. Kristi

    Sounds to me like Larry Conservative would have thrived in Nazi Germany. Perhaps we should automatically sterilize anyone who has any sort of addiction(alcoholism, food addiction, nicotine consumers) while we're at it. Addicts have a genetic predisposition after all.

    E. Chase, I couldn't have said it better. Thanks!

    January 6, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
  30. Carole Kuklis

    Since when do we seek medical opinions from non-medical providers? Harm reduction is a valid reason for giving specific information on health related issues. Many of the people commenting in the video would probably be opposed to school sex education which is another form of harm reduction.

    January 6, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
  31. David Nakase

    We have to have realistic, rational approaches to deal with the problems facing real people in this country, without the moralizing of a strident few who. Real solutions to real problems. Not ideology or proselytizing.

    So I applaud the NYC Health Dept.'s efforts.

    It is not a perfect world and not a theocracy get over it.

    January 6, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
  32. John

    The 4th leading cause of death in New York? Are you serious? There were 815 deaths due to narcotics and psycodysleptics poisoning in New York in 2006. Just for a comparison, 1069 people died due to accidental falls in 2006. I doubt heroin overdose is even a top 100 cause of death in New York.

    Larry: What someone does with their own body is not a public health issue. Also, any thoughtful, empirical study of the "War on Drugs" shows it is quite an ineffective and inefficient way to prevent drug abuse and associated crime. In fact, in all likelihood, it increases crime. It obviously increases the profits of selling drugs. Please try to be at least a little educated....

    January 6, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  33. E. Chase

    Councilman Peter Vallone asks what the big deal is if a person misses a vein. I take it he is not trained in medical care.

    People can get a phlebitis, endocarditis, cellulitis, fasciitis, blood clot, embolism, (latter two may be travelling to heart, brain or lungs) and all kinds of other complications from injecting incorrectly. Even RNs doing a buttock IM injection can 'hit bone' or worse, hit the sciatic nerve leaving someone crippled.

    One may ask "why should I care", but they need to know that, [similarly to the cases of persons who do not wear helmets and get head injuries] - in the long run, these sorts of serious complications eventually cost us all.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  34. Larry Conservative

    We need to quarantine them for their and society's well being. Leave them alone. When they die, Society will be that much better off! How about instructions on to how to properly create a meth lab so you don't burn down your neighbors house? I'm sick and tired of my tax dollars going to pay for $h!t for scumbags who make poor life choices.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  35. Arnold

    Let's hope that Commissioner Farley and Ass. Commissioner Karpaki will, with the mayor's backing, stand up to the ignorant short-sighted atttack by Mr. Vallone and the Ms. Brennan, the special narcotics prosecutor. Let's keep on with harm reduction measures and increasingly treat drug addiction as a behavioral/medical problem to be managed humanely and realistically. Some of the commenters above typify the nasty punitive attitudes toward drug user as if they are secretly afraid that others are having a good time without them, Drug addicts are not having a picnic.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  36. gregory hubbard

    These angry roars about the so-called ‘How-To’ heroin flyers must be from the same folks who dodge the reality bullet about teen sex. After all, we know for a certainty if you don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist!

    Of course, these 'If-we-don't-think, then-it-won't-happen' folks would be the first to complain how expensive it is to care for drug addicts with AIDS...

    January 6, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  37. chuck conner

    This is simply a health issue. People who have difficulty understanding the necessity of the phamplet should seek out information on "Harm Reduction" and would have a better understanding of the issues. Too many times we have allowed the government's "War on Drugs" to create a hysteria that loses sight of the human aspect. We have a failed effort in addressing the drug issue in this country, creating ever more prisons and less treatment facilities. We need more education, undertstanding and compassion.
    Get involved!

    January 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  38. Douglas

    In short, studies show that if we provide clean needles at a controlled syringe exchange program and offer support groups, counseling, and other services, the active drug user is more likely to receive treatment and graduate into recovery. This in fact, reduces tax payer burden as there are less visits to the ER and other emergency services.
    One misconception that was not pointed out is that these pamphlets were published in 2007. They are intended only to go to active drug users, not children, not newbies, not church ladies, etc.
    As for you blockheads that don't even know the difference between whether and weather, you deserve to have your money taken to be spent however. Several have noted that the cost of the pamphlets themselves is a mere drop-in-the-bucket compared to the overall cost, which is true.
    It was just pointed out to me that when OUR Vietnam vets came home, many of them came home addicted to drugs, heroin included. So I just want to know if you would deny services to a veteran that risked life and limb for the sake of this country. Are you going to quarantine every single drug user, homeless person, HIV infected, Hep C infected individual? I think not. Everyone has rights and luckily you can't take them away.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  39. Jon

    This is truly a step in the right direction. No one aspires to become an addict. For over forty years the terms of druggies or junkies have been used to describe these people to make them appear less than human. Two facts remain, they are humans and their plight has been ignored because they also have been labeled as criminals. We should be thankful that Dr. William Halstead was never found out (he was never able to get his dose of morphine under 180 mg/day) or sterile operating rooms and John Hopkins University may have been delayed for unknown years.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  40. Martin B.

    Maybe criminals should just be given state sponsored stolen goods so that they don't damage homes and property while they are stealing. If this idiot thinks that this pamphlet is important let him pay for it. I am quite sure that if the taxpayers were asked to do this project, the public would have said NO. Take heed Bloomberg...don't let stupid bureaucrats ruin your NYC. You did say that you were going to shake things up...So start here and fire him.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  41. Gerry Ashley

    Why does this not surprise me? There's NOTHING in this flyer to discourage you from using heroin, just how to become an addict.

    I mean is this really a problem? Are there not enough Junkies out there? I don't recall them being victims of the downsized economy. I don't think I've seen any help wanted ads for junkies:

    WANTED: Junkies. Must Know How To Shoot Up Properly. Experienced Preferred, but will train right person (using government supplied manual).

    Maybe there's so many people out of work the Government wants us all to get high (and, hopefully enough of us will OD in the process so the unemployment numbers will look more favorable once we're off the list...and life support).

    Shouldn't these brochures at least have been paid for by the pushers? I mean they're the ones who will benefit most from this.

    Next Brochure in the series: "How To Snort Cocaine Properly." I hope that one shows how to avoid those unsightly flared nostrils. I've got this friend that could hide his Escalade up there. Not pretty.

    Maybe we could team up whoever is responsible for these brochures with Safe School Czar Kevin Jennings and come up with an all-in-one brochure entitled, "How to enhance gay sex by snorting cocaine off your partner's penis!"

    I'm just sayin'...

    January 6, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  42. Andrea

    It is sad that these are the people we are helping. We aren't helping the abused and neglected kids whose parents aren't taking care of them. We aren't helping the elderly who don't have enough money to eat. We're helping drug addicts. Seriously? I don't take a dime from the government, I work from at least 50 hours a week, volunteer 10 hours a week, and just finished putting myself through college with no loans. If people are too lazy to make their situation better, why are we helping them? Let them OD, and use the money to help the country's veterans who went to war for us, or the helpless children who live in poverty all over this country. The idea that this country can afford to help one drug addict is pure insanity. Also, anyone that needs medical care for HIV, etc should be drug tested first. If they want to be treated with taxpayer money they should be off drugs, period.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  43. Rhi

    As a recovering heroin addict (6 years) and married to one who just did the $10,000+ treatment for hepatis C, I can appreciate the effort to educate needle users. People would be surprised to know what us junkies do learn out on the streets. While the concern is that we are losers and scumbags, why help those out there wasting tax payers money, some get clean. I finally got educated on what I was doing to myself and now spread the hope to others to get clean. I own a house, have a college education, am a professional person and so is my spouse. People can think junkies are worthless, where would we be in the world with out some of the famous people who contributed to society and history? We are all worthy of any and all help to every one of our fellows, even if we do not agree or live the same kind of life.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  44. Drew

    Quit providing tax dollars. For those that want to help, they can donate the money they want provide to them. Solution.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  45. Jed

    This is another example of what a facist agency the DEA is. Drug prohibition has cost more American lives than terrorism or many of the other threats that the goverenment fights. NYC is doing a great service by giving people information that may keep them alive and reduce costs to hospitals and police who respond to overdoses, etc. Abolish the DEA and legalize ALL drugs.

    January 6, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  46. L klein

    Yes, I think this is needed whether or not we agree its a fact there are herione addicts. My nephew is currently in prison, stealing because of his habit, has been to several rehab for months only to get out again to get high. This has been so heartbreaking for our family. When herione is involved its the worst drug to get this off. My prayers are that spending 14 months he will not turn to herion again.

    January 6, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  47. Theresa

    the pamphlets are worth it, I am a nurse in a small town but can see the potential loss & devastation misusage would cause:

    #1 dirty needles, shared or reused, can lead to HIV, Hep. C, cellulitis, MRSA infections, etc. where do they go for care....the don't until the end stage, and most likely in an emergency room setting which costs 4 times more than a clinic visit

    & to Kevin who is sick of his money going to scumbags?? seriously we are never going to as a society get away with not having to pay for people who have less than us so get over it and find a way to make it less of a burden, with a little education and some cheap pamphlets we could prevent alot of mass wastage, a typical cost of emergency room setting for say an addict overdosing could be around $20,000 and how many are out there??? or amputating a massively infected limb by a surgeon in a surgical suite, with the entire surgical team, then recovery time $50,000 for 1 PERSON and your worried about a couple thousand in pamphlets~you need to take a look at the big picture!

    January 6, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  48. Mary Mims

    Cost of pamphlets is nothing compared to the cost of paying for medical care for indigents who have contact HIV or HEP. Is worth educating them if they are going to use, on how to not get any life threatening diseases from the addiction. Someday, they may be able to get off the drugs.

    January 6, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  49. Larry

    The solution is simpler than you think. Just give addicts a bottle of bleach and have them clean the needles after use. Bleach kills everything known to man including HIV/Aids.
    However you have to understand the folks you are trying to reach have no common sense and very little regard for their health or their life. So anything you do will most likely fail.
    We should be arresting the users and putting them through rehab, wheather they want to or not. This is a major public heath issue and we need to quarantine them for their and society's well being. Also, if you remove the buyer, then there is no one to sell to, which kills profit.

    January 6, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  50. Timothy James

    We need to stop wasting money on tip sheets like this. Once a druggie takes the first hit, they're off the races with no memory or concern about the good tips you presented in your fancy brochure.

    January 6, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  51. Kevin

    I'm sick and tired of my tax dollars going to pay for $h!t for scumbags who make poor life choices. Where's my handout? I've been bustiing my @$$ all my teenage years and adult life (I'm 32) either going to school, working 50-60 hours a week, or both. When are people just going to learn how to take care of themselves?! I'm not rich, but I don't take any handouts, either. I'm in the military and work part-time as a security guard as well. I make ends meet by doing these things, without using drugs, and everyone else can do the same! The bleeding-heart, Ted Kennedy, liberal left wingnuts are ruining this country and turing it into a socialist country. Pretty soon, we'll all just be giving our entire paycheck to the government, and they will give us some pittance of an allowance.

    January 6, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  52. Jennifer

    I feel that the money spent on the pamphlets would be of better use to get help for these people to get OFF of the heroin. I feel that it is sad when anyone dies and it has to be horrible for their families, but these people put themselves in that predictament when they even "try" heroin and get themselves addicted. People that are homeless or are losing their homes need to be priority, not handing out "how-to" manuels for proper heroin use.

    January 6, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  53. Michael

    The health department's flyer provides information on safer drug use, and also provides information on how to access treatment – the two things we know to help save lives (and money, Council Member Vallone!). Of course, we want to see the CIty doing even more to address substance use ahd HIV infection, but this recent education campaign shows the City's willingness to look beyond the traditional prevention messages, which we know to be ineffective. So kudos to the health department on this one. And come on, if this 32K campaign prevents just one HIV infection, or a handful of overdoses which would have required City emergency medical services, than the cost is well worth it!

    January 6, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  54. Joe

    The amount of money NY paid for the pamphlets is considerably less the cost of caring for someone with Hepatitis B or HIV over the course of their lifetime. I think it’s great that NY is taking the opportunity to lead on an issue like this.

    January 6, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  55. J Cricket

    Why are we spending good money on stupid people? Leave them alone. When they die, Society will be that much better off!

    January 6, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  56. Random Taxpayer

    I haven't seen the flyer. Does it direct the user where the needles can be properly disposed of so as not to infect anyone else? Are taxpayers going to start paying for medical waste containers on every corner? How about instructions on to how to properly create a meth lab so you don't burn down your neighbors house? Now let's not turn our backs on reality. Let's wake up and put the money into the men and women who work to get the dealers, who are feeding these additions, off the streets..that's the reality.

    January 6, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  57. George

    It is nieve to think that there is not an intimacy interface between the non-drug using community and the drug using community. It is of the up most importance to keep as many individuals in the community free of HIV infection. Placing emphasis on the education of those who are the most vulnerable is prudent and will improve the health of all New Yorkers.

    January 6, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  58. Barb Taylor

    The principle is sound, "don't share, don't re-use"... the reality is otherwise. The person injects, drops the syringe, gets high, does not care what happens while high. Someone else comes along, "hey, a pretty clean syringe!" and away they go, sharing a dirty device. Yes, the info is costing $$$ but it is worth a try. The drug problem will never go away nor will the consequences to the public but on the whole, 32K is just not a lot to try to deal with this. Consider the cost of repeated ER trips & hospitalizations (which of course are either written off as bad debt or borne by Medicaid because the addict has no money to pay for treatment) because of needle sharing diseases. Makes 32K look cheap.

    January 6, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  59. Sebastian Bliffeld

    Our society does something to show that we care about those in dire straits and people get their feathers ruffled. Dr. Adam Karpati, exec. deputy commissioner, NYC Dept. of Health is to be commended for acknowledging the ugly realities of our city and doing something about it. At some point in time we can all use some help and guidance. I am thankful that I do not require this specific assistance; but I feel better knowing that the information will get to those that may benefit.

    January 6, 2010 at 1:51 pm |