Swiss editorial a broken needle, totally unusable

As I read the editorial page in Tuesday’s The Miami Student (“Swiss heroin rehab plan fails to solve addiction problem,” Dec. 2, 2008), I was disappointed by the lack of research and understanding that the editorial board displayed in their condemnation of the Swiss heroin program. The focus of the editorial-drug prevention/rehabilitation-is not necessarily the goal of the program. The last paragraph should’ve been the focus of your piece, in that it perfectly characterized why the program has been effective and popular in Switzerland.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking, “This kid would approve of such a program. He’s probably on the drug himself.” Rest assured, I am not a drug user. I passed DARE with flying colors and I practice the art of saying no to drugs whenever possible. However, I’m also a practical individual. I know heroin is a highly addictive substance. Once people get on the drug, it’s very hard for them to get off. They will do anything to get the drug, such as robbing, killing, using up all their money, etc. Going cold turkey just isn’t reasonable for some these addicts.

That’s where the Swiss heroin program comes in. Its main objective is to clean up the streets, allow addicts an opportunity to become productive citizens and help reduce crime in the country. Of course, the Swiss government would be overjoyed if all addicts had the ability to instead get off the drug while ensuring that no one would use heroin ever again. However, this isn’t reality. Without a drug program, addicts would still use the drug, but on the streets and in parks.

And it’s not to say that the participants in the heroin program have failed to curb their addiction. The nearly 1,300 addicts in the program have exhausted almost all of the alternatives offered to them. These alternatives haven’t worked for them. They still need the drug. So, instead of having them shoot up on the streets, the program allows them to go to a location where they can get the drug, in a small and regulated dosage, via clean and safe methods. In addition, many participants in the program have gone on to try to kick their addiction via abstinence programs or counseling sessions. Many of these participants are also able to find employment, becoming productive members of their society.

What really distressed me the most in the editorial was the first paragraph, which stated that the board felt this program was an unwise investment based on the benefits that have been realized. By many accounts, this program has been greatly helpful. The Federal Office of Public Health found that crimes by heroin addicts have dropped 60 percent since 1994, when the program began. Drug-related crime, deaths and HIV rates among the participants in the program have decreased dramatically. And, while the program does cost about $22 million (U.S.), the World Health Organization issued a report in 2004 that concluded that for every dollar invested in the heroin program, $12 is saved on law enforcement, judicial and health costs. Yes, these people are still using drugs. But to say that this has been an unwise investment misses the entire purpose of the program.


Miami must seek specific qualities in new coach

Change, a word we have all becomes acquainted with for the past eight months, it is also a word that fittingly describes the Miami University football program. With the resignation of head football coach Shane Montgomery, students and alumni alike are hoping the administration will take the coaching search seriously. I challenge the administration, specifically the athletic department, to take the coaching search outside the city of Oxford, maybe even past the Ohio border, to find the next member of the Cradle of Coaches. One of the biggest problems that face this football team-besides lack of success-is getting people in the stands. I see two ways we can fix this: first, change the culture of Miami football. Winning needs to be an expectation, not a surprise. The best thing that can happen for this football team is to get a coach who is going to change the ambiance of this program.

There is a reason students line up outside the Goggin Ice Center 10 hours prior to hockey games. They want a chance to witness a team that expects to win, along with an energetic environment that exemplifies the school spirit that Miami has to offer. That being said, there is also a reason why 75 percent of the student section leaves Yager Stadium at halftime. The second way people will be excited to go to football games is by playing an exciting brand of football. This does not mean that the offense needs to put up 70 points on the board every week. This simply means playing better on all sides of the ball, which will result in winning football games. Imagine if students made a decisive effort to flock to Yager on Saturday afternoons to watch an energetic, competitive and driven football team. A new coach may not have the capability to completely turn things around in one year, but a new coach can have a profound effect on the ability to change the culture of a program that is in desperate need of change.


Christmas music must be played responsibly

Let me begin by saying if you hate the holidays, do not read this column. If you would just as soon December be just another month, rather than the festivious occasion which we all know and love it to be, just stop right here. My purpose here is twofold: first, to clear my name of some hateful slander which ran in a recent edition of The Miami Student; second, to defend the integrity of this holiday season.

Thaddeus Boggs, in his column titled “Holiday music sparks jeer when Grinch roams free,” (Nov. 21) accused Mike Scott-our beloved president, not to mention a great American-and I of exhibiting “Grinch-like” behaviors due to our belief that Christmas cheer should be reserved for the Christmas season. Let me be clear: I am a cheerful person. I believe merriment is appropriate in all seasons, and would never seek to discourage a person from be jovial at any point during the year. In being called a “puppy-hater” for caring about the integrity of the holiday season, Boggs overstepped his bounds.

Let me ask you this, Boggs: was VE Day celebrated as the Allies were being driven back by the Nazis through the snow-filled forests of Belgium? No. Did our adored president-elect have his victory cigar (and daily pack of victory cigarettes) before Election Day? Well scratch that one, everyone with a head on their shoulders saw that win coming. So in this case, yes he may have, this is a rare exception. But friends, my point is this: don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Don’t celebrate prematurely what hasn’t yet happened. If Boggs were to have his way, stockings would hang above the fireplace year round; Christmas lights would adorn houses in July-not only is such nonsense inappropriate, it is a fire hazard and an incredible waste of energy. But I wouldn’t expect Boggs to care about fire safety or the environment anyway. In fact, not only does Boggs not believe in recycling, he doesn’t even believe in centralized waste repositories. I’ve witnessed him on multiple occasions littering all over campus and going up and down our street kicking over trash cans on garbage night, just to spite mother nature in all of her majestic beauty.

Now, dear reader, you may think I’ve gone off on a tangent here. You may think it unnecessary to know of Boggs’ recycling habits here and now, and that I’m resorting to childish name calling. I am, however, just trying to impress upon you how filthy Boggs is down to his very core. First it’s Christmas. Next, maybe Easter, and who knows? After that, your wedding? Your child’s Bar Mitzvah? I just want you all to know that he’s out there. Like a wolf among sheep, Thaddeus “World-Hater” Boggs seeks to spoil all that is good abo
ut this blessed blue planet we call earth. And as for Mike Scott and I, being members of the world’s shadow government, this is completely absurd and unfounded, yet not a surprising claim coming from Boggs. Thanks for your time, and please enjoy your holiday season. That being said… Mike : j93?87yf?h9€84, report to your sector at 0630 zulu time, and bring the laser cats.