Sunday, March 11, 2012

An Appropriate Use Of Government Money?

You decide:
No more of those awkward moments, placing a box of condoms on the checkout stand, staring at the ground and hoping the cashier doesn't look too closely at what you're buying.

And therefore, public health officials hope, no more unprotected sex among teens – or at least less of it.

Sacramento County teens can now order free condoms by mail, through a California Department of Public Health program that aims to cut soaring rates of sexually transmitted diseases among the young...

Youths 12 to 19 – old enough under California law to consent to medical care for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of STDs – can now order condoms from, the health council's sex-education website. They receive 10 condoms, lubricant and a brochure on safe sex, all in a nondescript envelope, and they can reorder up to once a month.

Read more here:

I wonder what would happen if I handed one of my students a condom if he/she asked me for one. Would it be more, or less, appropriate, since I'm a real person and not a faceless drone in a packaging room somewhere?
Although condoms are widely available at pharmacies, Moy said teens often feel too embarrassed to buy them or can't afford them. Condoms can cost about $2 each for a small box. Buying larger quantities – which teens may not be able to afford – can bring the price down to about $1 each.
This is absolutely absurd, unless they're buying gold-plated condoms. Amazon has them for much less than $1 ea, as does CVS, Walmart, Costco, etc. Someone too embarrassed to purchase condoms at a store should not be assisted by the government in having sex.


Anonymous said...

I think it would be appropriate.

Giving one of your students and aspirin would not.


-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

I find it amazing how much we help children in this state sneak past their parents, to the point where anyone above 12 can get an *excused* absence from school to go get an abortion and the school is *not* allowed to notify the parents of the child's absence.

And neither can we give a child an aspirin for a headache.

maxutils said...

This is a prime case for cost/benefit analysis . . . I would much rather have my tax dollars go towards the relatively minute cost of condoms, than towards the much larger expense of treating the STDs in county clinics -- which, if they're to embarrassed to buy condoms is where they will go. Now, if we find that the program doesn't have any effect on STDs . . . then, end it. The kids are obviously having sex -- I don't think giving out condoms is going to encourage more than a tiny percentage of those who aren't having sex to start. I make the same argument for legalizing drugs: virtually everyone who wants to use already is. You might get a few more, but it won't be noticeable.
As to the aspirin . . .teachers aren't doctors, and we don't have access to the student's medical history. I know that virtually everyone can take aspirin without harmful effect, but it takes just one student to have an allergic reaction to a drug to ruin a school district's day. What IS ridiculous is we don't let them bring their own over the counter or prescription medication.

Anna A said...


Is there any problem with a latex allergy and condoms? More and more folks are becoming sensitive to latex.

Bill Beeman said...

"This is absolutely absurd, unless they're buying gold-plated condoms."

What to you want to bet that by the time the government buys them, processes the orders, etc., that the $2 turns out to be a fraction of the real cost to the taxpayer.

@maxutils: Sure, cost benefit analysis is appropriate for most issues, but when has a government program ever been halted by an unfavorable result? Doesn't happen in this magic world of California's near-single party government, heavy lobbying, and an apparent belief in a never-empty state treasury.

Peter Reilly said...

I always thought that if they wanted kids to use condoms, they should make them illegal, then the people selling drugs would start selling them and their distribtuion channels seem to be really effective.

KauaiMark said...

I think Pete's idea is a pretty good one!

Ellen K said...

If buying condoms is such an embarrassing action, then actually seeing a naked person should be similarly disturbing. For that reason the FDA should also mandate the issuing of masks for use during sex.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know how many teens would actually take the time to order condoms from Sac County. That process takes forethought, and that isn't a trait of most teens I know. This is just another example of our nanny government doing everything except what it should.

maxutils said...

@Anna . . .I actually HAVE a latex allergy; I can't wear the gloves for any period of time without my skin drying up, itching, cracking, and bleeding. Condoms, though? No problem. Probably due to the lubricant/spermicide mitigating contact, and the relatively short duration of wear ;)
@Bill - government's inability to stop a program doesn't negate the use of C/B to either institute it or not in the first place. But, I have an example of a case where govt. did get rid of an inefficient program: Gov. Pete Wilson thought it would be a good source of revenue, and an encouragement towards good nutrition, to tax snack foods. This led to a mess: Saltine crackers, snack, taxable; graham crackers, baby food, not taxable. Eskimo Pie, snack, taxable; 1/2 gal. vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, food, not taxable. Imagine trying to run a convenience store . . . Anyway, it wound up costing more to collect and enforce than it brought in in revenue, and it was not renewed when its sunset period ended.

maxutils said...

I said 'inability' . . . 'unwillingness' would have been a better choice.