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| Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Cindy A. Rose |


As Long as We Remember...

January 25, 2019

Free Heroin Needle Delivery Not Enough

Ken Kellar

The Frederick County Council recently voted 6-1 to buy a van for the purpose of providing timely and convenient delivery of clean needles to county residents who use heroin. The county is not doing enough for our growing heroin-user community.


Heroin users, caught in the passion of their recreational pastime of drug abuse, sometime neglect to address needle cleanliness. This results in high rates of disease transmission such as HIV and hepatitis. It’s kind of like a child rushing out of his house at the sound of an ice cream truck and neglecting to tie his shoes. An occasionally scuffed knee results. I’m sure you can all relate.


Our county officials, acting on our behalf, have taken on the task and expense of delivering free needles to these community members who are so passionate about their heroin hobby. This should lower disease transmission rates.


It’s great that our elected officials have chosen to serve the growing heroin community. That’s what public service is all about. But serving needles to keep our drug users safe and healthy just doesn’t go quite far enough. There is still reason for concern and need for more help.


Many in our heroin community have a tough time making ends meet. Their passion for heroin often results in their neglect of school and employment. Just as many Olympic athletes cannot hold a steady job due to the training regime, so it goes for the heroin user.


Heroin use takes a lot out of the day and can be exhausting. So, just like Olympians, heroin addicts seek sponsors: parents, grandparents, spouses and friends are called upon to help out. Often times a heroin user can’t find a sponsor or their passion for the activity grows and expenses just get too high for their sponsor. Also many family members are unwilling to be a sponsor. Many heroin users with sponsor trouble resort to crime to supplement their income.


Many dedicated users of heroin establish a routine practice of breaking into homes and cars to acquire money and items to use and sell.  Sometimes the users are injured during the process. The most common injuries are cuts due to broken glass and sometimes contusions from falling in the dark homes they have entered. Here is an opportunity for the county to help.


It’s pretty inevitable that many addicts will rob. We should make it safer for them. I propose the county provide each heroin addict a burglary tool kit. They should also be provided training so they can use the tools. The training and burglary tools (including a flashlight) will allow the addicts to safely break into cars and homes to acquire their needed resources without running the risks associated with smashing windows and kicking in doors.


The burglary assistance program will pay for itself. With car doors being neatly jimmied and no more broken glass and doors at homes, the insurance costs will be much lower for those citizens subject to resource harvesting. The burglary training will also facilitate quieter robberies reducing the chance of dangerous altercations between addicts and property owners.


In conclusion, I suggest the free needle delivery van is a nice gesture that doesn’t go far enough. I recommend the county provide burglary tools kits and needed training to any addict that asks. The program should be strictly confidential to maximize the number of users and protect their sacred constitutional right to privacy.


C’mon County Council members, do you care for the growing heroin community or not?

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