The state’s first needle-exchange program was born here a little more than a year ago under heavy scrutiny and controversy. State officials launched a three-year pilot effort in November 2007 to see if they could slow the spread of HIV and hepatitis. But to do so, they would spend public money passing out free hypodermic needles to intravenous drug users.
First-year statistics are in and show the city’s program has been highly successful in distributing clean needles but subpar in getting addicts into rehabilitation. That means the debate is likely to continue.
Translation: the greater Atlantic City area drug culture has remained stable for the past few two years. The change has not been in the volume of illegal IV drug usage, but in the source of funding. New Jersey taxpayers should know that while we tighten our family budgets due to the economic downturn, Atlantic City and New Jersey state government officials have made it so we pay for illegal drug users’ needle and paraphernalia. Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer, you cannot afford lollipops for little Johnny, but you are paying for illegal drug needles for Bryan down the street.
The state budget pays for the illegal drug supplies that are distributed free to illegal drug users. Atlantic City’s budget pays for a certain percentage of administration and overhead costs.
I am on record as being vehemently opposed to the Oasis free illegal drug needle and supplies distribution center. You may read my Atlantic City: Housing, Healthcare, and Free Drug Needles for All!
Press reporter Clark points out a new component to the free illegal drug needle distribution: free housing.
The pilot program recently added a new state housing initiative, which strives to place addicts in low-income housing. Some participants are responsible for paying partial rent. If they are employed, they must contribute 30 percent of their income.
The housing project is a response to studies that show drug users with stable housing are more likely to get off drugs and become more stable citizens. The program received 31 vouchers from the state, which house 15 people who are currently in drug treatment and 16 people who are not in treatment.
The housing plan is the newest addition to the ever-evolving needle-exchange program. Officials hope the program’s critics will see their results and opinions will evolve.
Steve Lonegan has long been warning people that Trenton is forcing the “Hard-to-House” in to every community in New Jersey through the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH). Mr. Lonegan’s web-site reads:
ONLY LONEGAN WILL STOP COAH. No one has been more outspoken against Corzine’s attempt to force more than 100,000 Low Income Housing units into every New Jersey town than Steve Lonegan, and he will stop it as Governor.
The fact being brought out by both Michael Clark and Steve Lonegan is that not only does our government give out free housing, and free illegal drug needles and IV accessories, but illegal drug users get priority in these taxpayer-funded housing units.
Now, for our next story, Hell is freezing over. …