My morning with Ritchie, part of a required residency rotation on addiction, offered a rare glimpse into patients' lives outside hospital walls and the important, if unsettling, work that complements our efforts as physicians.
One way New York State is considering streamlining its Medicaid costs is by expanding needle-exchange centers to help drug users prevent getting HIV and hepatitis C. But that may take federal funds, and Congress reinstated a ban on such funds last year.
Given the state's current political climate, it's unlikely Florida will change its drug paraphernalia laws any time soon, which means the residents of inner city Miami will need to continue to watch their step.
It's interesting that in all of the press I've read so far celebrating Ronald Reagan, I have not seen one word about his radical escalation of the drug war -- and the devastating effects that had on our society.
How is it possible for Republican leaders to take on the issues of gay marriage, crucial AIDS prevention programs and medical marijuana in a single day? By throwing their weight around in the District of Columbia.
To deny injecting-drug-users access to needle exchange programs is to fail to act to save human lives, to fail to acknowledge the dignity of every human life, and to fail to respond in solidarity to those who are marginalized.