Razor Wire Reader Shames Judge Judy

I've been reading your newspaper and am finding it very informative. I'm really very impressed. In the Jan/Feb Razor Wire (page 8) there's a brief article about Judge Judy's horrendous statements about needle exchange programs and addicts.

I decided to write to her about this because I have a son who's an addict, now in recovery; so I found her address on the web and wrote. Probably nothing will change her mind. In case you're interested, here's the letter:

February 4, 2000
Judge Judy
PO Box 949
Hollywood CA 90078

Dear Judge Judy:
Recently, I learned that you suggested we should give drug addicts dirty needles and let them die. This statement horrifies me. Don't you realize that every drug addict has a mother who hopes he or she will some day get clean? You know they do sometimes. Let me tell you about my son.

My son was addicted to speed. He was a needle-user who participated in the local needle-exchange program regularly. Scott was a mess: homeless, unemployed, always 'loaded', and he committed petty crimes like shoplifting. He was in and out of the county jail. I was devastated and felt I had lost my son entirely; it was almost like he was dead.

At some point he decided he was tired of living like that, and if they would send him to a program, he would go. He was in jail at the time; so they sent him to a program, and he was determined, really determined, to beat his addiction. And he did!

Although it is common for addicts to relapse several times before finally being successful - just like cigarette smokers - Scott has not relapsed. I don't think it's been easy, especially in the beginning, but he was determined and got help and support from his program and from AA.

Now he has been clean and sober for nearly seven years. He was able to get into the carpenter's union; he makes good money and is married. He and his wife bought a house, and they both go to community college, although neither one finished high school. They get straight A's and are so excited about what they are learning - we have wonderful intellectual discussions which are so much fun.

More than all this, both Scott and his wife are real assets to their community in helping other addicts who want to recover. They met in AA and continue to be very active in the group. Each volunteers at a local high school for young people at risk, many of whom have or have had drug problems.

I am thankful every day for Scott's recovery, and I hope and pray for the recovery of other mothers' children who have this problem. So you see, Judge Judy, addicts not only can recover; they do recover, and can be wonderful assets in their communities. The needle exchange program may well have saved his life.

Zoe Sodja