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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Vienna Journal, Part 3: Honesty Check

Posted by admin | September 28th, 2007 | Filed under Design, Personal Reflection

drug_check11.jpgThis poster caught my eye, as we walked down a street in one of Vienna’s younger, hipper districts, which had only really flourished from funky to cool in the last five years or so. I couldn’t figure our what it was about, so I asked my hosts, Sigrid and Astrid (Austrian women really do have great names). Turns out the place offers a free service where you can bring your drugs to have them checked out and tested. Tested for what, you ask? Well, to see if they are what you think are of course. Yup, if you’re not sure about that ecstasy your cousin hooked you up with last week in Amsterdam, you can bring it in for free analysis, in the hopes that people knowing what they’re taking will prevent overdoses, or worse.

Red results mean you’ve got rat poison in your cocaine. Yellow means it’s OK, but you didn’t get the good stuff. And white means you’re all clear.

drug_check2.jpgControversial? In our county, sure. It’s right up there with needle exchange programs for a topic that people are bound to feel strongly about. But Europe has always been more open about the fact that people will take drugs whether they’re legal or not, and about endorsing an approach that tries to keep more people safe, however possible. I’m not saying this is the best way to go, but topics like this remind me a little of that saying “If you can’t change your mind, are you sure you still have one?” By the way, how’s our war on drugs going? I haven’t been paying attention, what with all the other wars we’re fighting.

4 Responses to “Vienna Journal, Part 3: Honesty Check”

  • September 28, 2007 at 6:12 pm | charlie says

    Needle exchange=more junkies moving to the area. Just what every neighborhood needs more of.

  • September 29, 2007 at 1:08 pm | Otis says

    Certainly a possibility. I’ve never used one, or lived near one. However, they are proven to succeed at their intended goal of lowering infection rates, primarily for HIV, among intravenous drug users, the cost of whose health care often falls back to taxpayers.

    I didn’t intend this post to endorse or condone any set of behaviors, but if change is going to happen, in any area, an honest look at the situation and the possible courses of action must be a part of the process.

    Thanks for reading,

    Otis

  • October 1, 2007 at 9:32 pm | John says

    I grew up in Oslo, Norway where a place for needle exchange and a room where drug addicts can use clean needles in a safe environment has been around for some time. The location is close to where drug addicts seem to congregate and the location is not anywhere close to a residential area. From what I understand, it has provided better control of the user population and reduced infection rates which can be nothing but positive. The needle exchange location also serves the need for people trying to get off drugs and is a location where methadone is provided to people with valid prescriptions. Doing nothing never solved a problem.

  • October 2, 2007 at 12:14 am | Rhonda says

    Ignorance should not be tolerated and knowledge is key. This type of available information, if from a reliable source may encourage individuals from partaking in what they might have thought would be a harmless trip down escapism lane. Facts and information paint the portrait of a decision. If one choses to do the act of escapism and does so blindly, (which is the act of taking the drug in the first place)and now has to consider is the drug what I thought it was, this knowledge may help paint the decision to not take the drug at all.

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