Friday, September 19, 2008
Today in my Health Promotion Methods class we had a discussion on ethics. We talked about a lot of different experiments people did that went wrong. We talked about how the Nazi's documented everything in great detail and how that information is used today and is it ethical? We talked about the German women swimmers who won all the gold medals during an Olympics in the 60's because they were being injected with large amounts of steroids and did not even know. How that messed up their lives, some died from it. Others had children but they were so severely deformed that they just tossed the babies aside (I know.. shudder). What interested me was something I knew nothing about. The Needle Exchange.
Anyone ever heard of it? I can't believe I did not know what it was because it was going on in Spokane, Washington. I grew up 2 hours south of there. For those of you who don't know; The Needle Exchange is a program where any drug user can come with a dirty needle and get a brand new clean shiny one. For free. No questions asked. Now, you have to come with a needle to get a new needle. They also give you a pamphlet and that's that. The police have agreed (much to their angst) to not arrest anyone coming to The Needle Exchange. My first reaction was, Isn't this condoning drug use? Isn't this helping a bad behavior? Isn't this saying that the Government supports it? (by the way, I don't know if isn't is a real word or not, I'm not an English major, so I really don't care :)
But then we started to talk more in depth about it. This is preventing the spread of disease. The spread of AIDS and anything else transmittable out there. Suprisingly, since this has been going on (started in the mid 90's) there has been a 20% increase in the amount of drug users coming in for help. I thought, now why is this?
Because it's showing these drug users that people care. That even though we acknowledge their drug use is wrong and illegal, we still care that someone does not get sick. Now, my teach said that we would all be surprised at how many BMW's, Audi's, Range Rovers and Lexus's come to exchange needles. So... I got to thinking.. maybe this isn't such a bad thing. I guess if you think of it in the helping people perspective. I'm still so undecided on exactly where I stand.
I want to know what you all think of this, but first, this is what my teach said before we left. That if we look at these people like they are our brothers and sisters are we not happy that they are getting help in some way? Are we not happy that these children of Heavenly Father are being taken care of?
The people that are drug users are obviously pretty far gone to be having to inject the stuff into their bodies. But they are never far gone enough for help not to actually help. It was so crazy to talk about and discuss this in an optimistic sort of way. You just have to take one, or two, or thirty steps back and look at it from every perspective.
What do you think?