Two weeks ago, we reported that TV personality "Judge Judy" Sheindlin, on a two week tour of Australia promoting her new book, had attacked needle exchange programs, calling them a "liberal indulgence" and saying "Give em dirty needles and let 'em die," according to the Courier Mail in Brisbane (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/116.html#judgejudy).
In response to a barrage of criticism, much of it delivered through the Judge Judy web site's feedback form and toll free number, Sheindlin has posted a statement at http://www.judgejudy.com/drugs.html "clarifying" her views. Criticism was not limited for very long to the Internet, however.
On Nov. 18, the Melbourne newspaper "The Age" quoted the Alcohol and Drug Foundation of Queensland's chief executive, Bob Aldred, calling Sheindlin's comments "callous and deplorable," adding, "The popular symbol of American justice has managed to devalue young lives without recognising the growing drug problem." Then on Nov. 29, conservative, nationally syndicated U.S. columnist Arianna Huffington slammed Sheindlin in a piece titled "The New Callousness" (http://www.ariannaonline.com/columns/files/112999.html).
If you've seen Arianna Huffington's column on Judge Judy in your local paper, please write a letter to the editor. Remember that newspapers rarely print letters longer than 200 words, and the shorter your letter, the more likely it is to get published.
Last but not least, give Judge Judy a piece of your mind if you haven't already -- call 1-888-800-JUDY (5839), write to P.O. Box 949, Hollywood, CA 90078, or use Judge Judy's web site feedback form at http://www.judgejudy.com. Also please note that our original article had identified the Judge Judy show with the Fox Network, but that identification was erroneous; Judge Judy is a syndicated program that appears on different stations in different locations.
Please read our commentary on Judge Judy and needle exchange, second to last article of this issue. You can also get substantial information on needle exchange programs, for your letters or other purposes, from the following web sites:
Syringe Exchange Resources
The Lindesmith Center
The North American Syringe
The Dogwood Center