City-funded handout called how-to for heroin users

January 4, 2010 5:14:37 PM PST
They say it's a guidebook designed to save lives, but the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is under fire for a handout that critics say shows people how to inject drugs. Department officials say the guidebook is designed to help heroin users.

It offers information on how to prepare drugs carefully and how to care for veins to avoid infection.

Several lawmakers want the brochure out of circulation.

The state's top official with the Drug Enforcement Administration calls the "Take Charge Take Care" guide a "step-by-step instruction on how to inject a poison." DEA special agent-in-charge John Gilbride says the handout is disturbing.

The city printed about 70,000 copies.

Assistant Commissioner Daliah Heller says instructions on how to perform injections were included because there's "a less harmful way to inject."

The illustrated guidebook offers information on HIV testing and the dangers of sharing needles.

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