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Government supplied clean syringes

Assignment: Argument Evaluation ? Read Critical Thinking Appendix 1: Clean Needles Benefit Society and Programs Don't Make Sense (pp. A-22 - A-23) ?

Identify at least two arguments in each article.

Argument #1

Outline the premises and conclusions of the argument .

(1) Do the premises support the conclusions?
(2) Are the premises reasonable?

Explain how you came to your decision

Argument #2

Outline the premises and conclusions of the argument

(1) Do the premises support the conclusions?
(2) Are the premises reasonable?

Explain how you came to your decision



Today Our view: Needle exchanges prove effective as AIDS counterattack. They warrant wider use and federal backing. Nothing gets knees jerking and fingers wagging like free needle-exchange programs. But strong evidence is emerging that they're working. The 37 cities trying needle exchanges are accumulating impressive data that they are an effective tool against spread of an epidemic now in its 13th year. ? In Hartford, Conn., demand for needles has quadrupled expectations?32,000 in nine months. And free needles hit a targeted population: 55% of used needles show traces of AIDS virus. ? In San Francisco, almost half the addicts opt for clean needles. ? In New Haven, new HIV infections are down 33% for addicts in exchanges. Promising evidence. And what of fears that needle exchanges increase addiction? The National Commission on AIDS found no evidence. Neither do new studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Logic and research tell us no one's saying, "Hey, they're giving away free, clean hypodermic needles! I think I'll become a drug addict!" Get real. Needle exchange is a soundly based counterattack against an epidemic. As the federal Centers for Disease Control puts it, "Removing contaminated syringes from circulation is analogous to removing mosquitoes." Addicts know shared needles are HIV transmitters. Evidence shows drug users will seek out clean needles to cut chances of almost certain death from AIDS. Needle exchanges neither cure addiction nor cave in to the drug scourge. They're a sound, effective line of defense in a population at high risk. (Some 28% of AIDS cases are IV drug users.) And AIDS treatment costs taxpayers far more than the price of a few needles. It's time for policymakers to disperse the fog of rhetoric, hyperbole and scare tactics and widen the program to attract more of the nation's 1.2 million IV drug users. We're a pragmatic society. We like things that work. Needle exchanges have proven their benefit. They should be encouraged and expanded.


Opposing view: It's just plain stupid for government to sponsor dangerous, illegal behavior. If the Clinton administration initiated a program that offered free tires to drivers who habitually and dangerously broke speed limits?to help them avoid fatal accidents from blowouts?taxpayers would be furious. Spending government money to distribute free needles to junkies, in an attempt to help them avoid HIV infections, is an equally volatile and stupid policy. It's wrong to attempt to ease one crisis by reinforcing another. It's wrong to tolerate a contradictory policy that spends people's hardearned money to facilitate deviant behavior. And it's wrong to try to save drug abusers from HIV infection by perpetuating their pain and suffering. Taxpayers expect higher health-care standards from President Clinton's public-policy "experts." Inconclusive data on experimental needle-distribution programs is no excuse to weaken federal substance-abuse laws. No government bureaucrat can refute the fact that fresh, free needles make it easier to inject illegal drugs because their use results in less pain and scarring. Underwriting dangerous, criminal behavior is illogical: If you subsidize something, you'll get more of it. In a Hartford, Conn., needle-distribution program, for example, drug addicts are demanding taxpayer-funded needles at four times the expected rate. Although there may not yet be evidence of increased substance abuse, there is obviously no incentive in such schemes to help drug-addiction victims get cured. Inconsistency and incompetence will undermine the public's confidence in government health-care initiatives regarding drug abuse and the AIDS epidemic. The Clinton administration proposal of giving away needles hurts far more people than [it is] intended to help.

Solution Summary

Two views (pro and con view) on utilizing tax payers money to supply clean needles to IV drug users.