DEA: Taxpayers Funding NYC’s ‘How-To’ Heroin Guide


heroin-guide-nycIt’s a new guidebook funded by your tax dollars that shows heroin users how to inject themselves properly.  The New York City Health Department printed tens of thousands of copies, and it has outraged drug enforcement agents.

Today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the Health Department’s flyer “Take Charge, Take Care.” He did so because critics are calling it a how-to manual for drug users.

“Nobody condones drug use,” Bloomberg said. “But if you’re going to use it, it certainly is not in anybody’s interest in society to have you get [diseases].”

The Drug Enforcement Administration completely disagrees.

“It sends out the wrong message. It sends out the message that using heroin can be safe. And that is so far from the truth,” said DEA Agent John Gilbride.

The handout, on which the city spent $32,000 of the taxpayer’s money, offers 10 tips for safer use of intravenous drugs, going as far as to describe how to prepare drugs carefully like “use fresh tap water or sterile water tubes,” “use a new cooker every time,” “don’t touch the inside” and “drop the cotton directly onto the cooker.”

Public health officials point to an 80 percent reduction in new HIV cases since 1995 and say programs like this play a major part.

Dr. Don Des Jarlais runs the chemical dependency institute at Beth Israel Medical Center. He said $30,000 is a mere ounce of prevention compared to the heavy cost of infection and treatment to emergency rooms.

“A single case of HIV or hepatitis C or bacterial infections can easily cost well more than $30,000,” Des Jarlais said.

People CBS 2 HD spoke to had mixed opinions on the program.

“It only encourages pushers to keep doing what they are doing, illegally. It doesn’t help the society at all,” said Jose Rosa of Elmhurst.

“It’s a good thing. Well, if people are going to use it they should know how,” added Kevin Soulivong of Columbus, Ohio.

One point not in dispute: kicking the habit is the best advice of all.

The Health Department printed about 70,000 copies of the flyer.

{CBS 2 HD/Noam Newscenter}


  1. Sounds like it’s actually going to save the taxpayers money. It just has to stop 1 case of HIV to make the money back.

    It feels weird, but the problem is out there and ignoring it won’t make it go away.


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