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The City’s Deadly Primer

There is no safe way to slit your wrist, stand in front of a speeding No. 7 train, jump from the observation deck at the Empire State Building or inject heroin.

In the past week, there was a great deal of controversy surrounding a pamphlet produced by the city Health Department that offers addicts tips for the “safer use of heroin.” Officials said the pamphlet has been distributed to addicts since 2007. It is now coming to the attention of people who have retained some degree of common sense.

The pamphlet that was prepared with $32,000 of tax money offers “10 Tips for Safer Use” of heroin. The brochure includes tips like shooting up with a friend just in case something goes wrong and warming up the body by jumping up and down to make veins easier to find.

The department’s intentions were good. It rationalized that people would continue to shoot heroin despite the evidence of how dangerous it is. Health officials said the brochure was designed to make using heroin safer, not safe.

But by producing this pamphlet, the city is condoning an illegal activity.

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., chairman of the Council Public Safety Committee, charged last week that the city is “spending taxpayer money and getting a how-to guide for first-time users.” Like anyone with common sense, including city Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan, he is opposed to the brochure.

At best this pamphlet sends a mixed message about one of the most dangerous things to do. The pamphlets should be recalled and destroyed immediately.

The Limits of Term Limits

In an otherwise inspired State of the State message in which he called for widespread ethics reform, Gov. David Paterson also asked for term limits for state legislators. He suggested senators and Assembly members serve a maximum of six terms.

Unfortunately, this would do little to curb the corruption rampant in Albany and deprive voters of their right to re-elect dedicated legislators who know their needs and have served them well.

This is a democracy and we trust voters to make an informed decision whether to keep a legislator for one term or 20 terms.

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