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Bleach Kits for Drug Users

February 19, 1990

Your editorial ("Not Condoning but Fighting AIDS;" Feb. 6) in support of Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley's proposal to provide bleach kits and condoms to intravenous drug users is preposterous.

In the opinion of many, taxpayer dollars are better spent getting people off of drugs. Providing bleach to clean needles used for illegal drug use makes no sense. Any way you look at it, Mayor Bradley's proposal sends the wrong message to our youth.

The facts are clear: AIDS kills, and drugs kill. There is no safe way to be an addict. Cleaning a user's tool of destruction gives them a false sense of security. It is a Band-Aid approach to a serious problem.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has not shirked its responsibility to deal with this tragic epidemic as your editorial implies. In fact, Los Angeles County will spend over $57 million this year alone to combat AIDS, which is more than double the amount spent just two years ago.

Addicts make a conscious decision to risk their lives every time they shoot up. Their illegal use of drugs, and the use of unsafe sex practices is Russian roulette.

A responsible approach to help these people lies in drug rehabilitation, AIDS hospices, education and other intervention programs designed to get addicts off the poison that flows through their bloodstream. Dispensing bleach, condoms, and free needles as others have proposed only prolongs the problem.

MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH

Supervisor, Fifth District

Los Angeles County

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