Found Words – Dr. Dawn Day

A fascinating take on the morality of needle exchange programs for IV drug users from a Jesuit-affiliated doctor in NJ:

“[I]f a women has a life-threatening hemorrhage after giving birth, we want the doctor to provide medical treatment at once. We do not want the doctor to first inquire about the circumstances under which the woman became pregnant. Or when an ambulance goes to the scene of an accident, we want all those who need help to be treated, even the person that caused the accident.”

And continuing:

“There is a dangerous curve in the road. One speeding driver dies. Then another. Then another. They should not be speeding. They are responsible. But we know the curve is dangerous. Don’t we have an obligation to post a warning sign? Put in a stop light? Change the traffic pattern? Perhaps even straighten the road? And the driver is not always alone. Sometimes a wife or husband is along. Sometimes a newborn child. And so it is with injecting drugs in the age of AIDS. People who inject drugs know they are taking a risk. But we know too. I believe we have an obligation to permit people who inject drugs to have access to sterile needles so they can protect their health. Injection drug users are also God’s children. And, like the reckless driver in the example above, people who inject drugs have wives, husbands, and babies. When we abandon the person who injects drugs to HIV/AIDS, we are abandoning their non-drug injecting partners and babies as well. God has given us knowledge with which to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS to all these people. Let us use it.”

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