A better use for federal funds

In his article (“Needle Exchanges Work,” Jan. 26), Scott Stern argues that federal funding for needle exchange programs should be reinstated. The proof that clean needle exchange programs reduce the transmission of diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C among intravenous drug users is clear, but I question the wisdom of simply making drug use “safer.”

The transmission of diseases from dirty needles is only one of the many risks that drug users are exposed to. Among the health risks of heroin and cocaine use listed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse are liver and kidney disease, heart attack, stroke, and respiratory failure.

These health risks also don’t account for the negative social impact drug abuse can have beyond the risk of spreading diseases. Reports prepared by the UN Office on Drug and Crime and the U.S. Department of Justice have shown strong links between drug abuse, crime and domestic violence.

Clean needle exchange programs do nothing to decrease these health risks and social problems. A better use of the federal funding would be to establish public clinics for drug abuse prevention and therapy. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only 10 percent of drug users are able to receive treatment in public clinics. The relatively small number of treatment clinics in the United States means that they fill up quickly, leaving millions unable to receive help. Directing funding towards opening more clinics will better address the many different problems associated with drug abuse.

Stephanie Cruz

Jan. 28

The writer is a junior in Ezra Stiles College.

Celebrating Kerbel’s success

Your Jan. 27 article “SOM career development office gains new director” misses two known facts about the transition. First, our Director of Career Development, Ivan Kerbel ’96, is leaving SOM to get married this spring and move to Seattle to join his future wife. Second, this transition takes place in the context of excellent employment outcomes for Yale SOM students and recent graduates, despite the tough economy. The most often cited statistic, the percentage of graduates employed at three months after graduation, puts Yale SOM well inside the top 10 U.S. business schools. During his three years as director, Ivan has done an outstanding job coordinating the efforts of many, despite the intense headwinds and economic turmoil. Postings for internships and full-time positions have more than tripled during his tenure. This year alone, the number of on-campus recruiters increased by more than half.

Readers of the article would miss how much Ivan will be missed by our students, enterprise partners and colleagues. To his credit, Ivan has offered to remain at Yale for the duration of the school year, both to help execute a comprehensive succession plan and to bring on board our new CDO Director, Julia Zupko, thus ensuring a smooth transition. Thanks in considerable measure to Ivan, we have momentum and are able to focus on continuing it.

Jeanette Gorgas

Jan. 31

The writer is the Senior Associate Dean of the MBA Program at the Yale School of Management.