Andrew on needle exchange:
This restriction might make sense if needle-exchange programs increased the number of addicts. But they don't. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, has comprehensively reviewed the scientific studies on needle exchange. "It does not," he says, "result in an increase in drug abuse, and it does decrease the incidence of HIV. . . . The idea that kids are going to walk out of school and start using drugs because clean needles are available is ridiculous." My experience in Washington was consistent with Fauci's view. Addicts who came for needles were generally in their 40s and 50s. The availability of clean needles no more caused their addiction than the provision of clean shot glasses would cause alcoholism," - Michael Gerson,
I am sure this is correct, and I (of course!) favor needle exchange, insofar as I can be said to favor anything that makes me squeamishly clutch my arms to my chest. But does anyone think this will change the minds of the opponents of needle exchange? Their objection is not, at its heart, a practical one. Rather, they don't want to implicitly ratify shooting up by providing higher quality materials with which to do so.
I wonder if this isn't the same class of objection that many of my interlocutors have about paying for kidneys. A lot of people framed the idea as "rich people buying the poor's kidneys", even though the actual proposal on the table is for the government to pay a bounty to kidney donors in the name of anyone who happens to need one. (Since my impression is that kidney failure disproportionately strikes the poor, the net effects are, I think progressive.) But it is true that probably more people who sell kidneys will be in the bottom half of the income distribution.