Thursday, October 22, 2009

This just in... Wall Government tramples on the downtrodden... again

Now given that headline, one would think that I disagree with what he is doing in the case of a cap on needle exchange needles handed out.

But I really don't, and here's why.

In 2008, Saskatchewan recorded 174 new cases of HIV compared to Alberta's 225 new cases. Clearly less cases.

But let me repeat that in contextual language - something that drives home the point.

In 2008, Saskatchewan (pop 1,030,000, 4.5 million needles handed out) recorded 174 new cases of HIV compared to Alberta's (pop 3.5 million, 1 million needles handed out) 225 new cases.

And yet, the AIDS Saskatoon Executive Coordinator Nicole White says that we're not handing out enough needles.

Well, I have news for you, Ms. White. It's not that we're handing out not enough needles, it's that we have a problem with injection drug users in Saskatchewan. Our per capita incidence of new HIV cases is three times that of Alberta's. Coincidentally enough, we hand out roughly three times the number of needles that Alberta does. Is it possible that this is correlated? Is it also possible that you are advocating more needles be handed out in order to justify your position?

To be honest, Ms. White, injection drug users don't need more needles. They need more people counselling them to get off the stuff. Maybe then can this needle exchange funding be allocated to more pressing things, like special education initiatives for children who have no choice but to live life as they are.

Just a thought.

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