Re: “Our View: Maine’s needle exchange programs should get state funds” (July 8):

The Portland needle exchange program has stated repeatedly that the distribution of clean syringes to heroin addicts encourages safe intravenous drug use because the free supply of syringes eliminates the need to share needles.

But the source of this data is the drug addicts themselves, so how reliable is it? In fact, the chances of shared needle use rose with last year’s distribution of 172,000-plus syringes to the 2,000-plus addicts enrolled in the needle exchange program.

From last September to this April, I found more than 30 discarded syringes within a block of my home in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood. Many were in my garden, yard or on my front steps.

According to Dr. Caroline Teschke, director of the clinic that operates the program, none of those needles came from their program because they do a one-for-one exchange. But guess who counts the returned needles – the drug addicts themselves!

The Portland needle exchange program encourages heroin addicts to move to Portland and enables them to continue living a lifestyle dangerous to the entire Portland community.

Jay York

Portland