Dear Editor,

New Jersey is facing a heroin epidemic and lacks enough treatment facilities and services to assist addicts seeking to get clean. Yet we still criminalize addicts, who have a medically diagnosable dependency on heroin. It is morally wrong to criminalize people suffering from the disease of addiction.

New Jersey should begin a test program of distributing free heroin to addicts through a research program that could be organized through Rutgers University. Safe injection clinics should be opened in high-use municipalities such as Toms River, Ocean Township and Middletown. Heroin maintenance programs prevent crime, reduce overdose and help bring addicts into treatment services.

Clean needles should be made available free at every high school, college and hospital in the state to prevent the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.

Eric Hafner
Toms River, NJ