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Schickel: Needle Exchange is a Bad Idea

Supporters of Senate Bill 192 (anti-heroin legislation) told lawmakers that needle exchanges for heroin addicts were a public health issue. I voted against SB 192 because I opposed the needle exchange, but the bill ultimately passed. It is now time we reevaluate needle exchanges.

The history of public health in the United States, and the world, is both good and bad. Some of the great accomplishments in modern times include control of infectious diseases, vaccination for smallpox, the elimination of polio in America, control of measles and many other things we take for granted. We are truly blessed.

However, history tells us that great evil has also been promoted in the name of public health. The extermination of the Jews in World War II was done in the name of public health. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention tell us that citizens with guns are a public health hazard and would have us give up our Second Amendment rights. Thousands of babies have been killed through abortion in the name of public health.

Now we have health officials and the legislature telling us we, as taxpayers, must pay for the hardware (needles) for drug users to inject an illegal substance into their bodies – all in the name of public health.

This is even more offensive to us conservatives because, even though we do not agree with it, abortion is legal in the United States. However, using heroin is illegal. Taxpayers are being asked to pay for the same drug paraphernalia, which, under different circumstances, would send someone to prison. Talk about mixed messages when young people desperately need clarity. Talk about hypocrisy when people already have a cynical view of government.

These public health officials and the legislature have it wrong. This is not the proper role of government.

Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, represents Boone County. He welcomes your concerns or comments toll free at 800-372-7181 or online at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Messages/S011.aspx. Twitter: @SenatorSchickel.