Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Should Govt "Hand Out Methadone and Free Needles?

Readers respond to Melbourne (Australia) newspaper query: should govt "hand out methadone and free needles"? Nice to see the positive responses. It's interesting, though, to speculate on applying this question to the response to other chronic medical conditions - e.g., should govt provide insulin and sterile needles to diabetics? Should govt provide Lipitor to folks who can't/won't control their cholesterol levels? Etc. Anyway, the question posed by the paper is timely, and the responses encouraging; my hunch is that there would be an overwhelming negative attitude expressed by readers in the US. rgn

Copyright 2005 Nationwide News Pty LimitedHerald Sun (Melbourne, Australia)November 29, 2005 TuesdaySECTION: LETTERS; HEADLINE: Should the State Government continue to hand out methadone and freeneedles to drug users?

FIONNA GRATTON 33, Point Cook Yes. I don't think it is encouraging drug use. I see it as a sensible way of managing a health issue rather than a moral issue.

ALAN BOYLE 60, East Doncaster Yes, because I think it's the lesser of the two evils. Supplying users with acontrolled drug is better than them getting it illegally.

BRENT OTTLEY 45, Montrose Yes, definitely. It's a continuing problem and the only way to deal with itis to help them. They're not criminals and they shouldn't be treated as such.

CHRISTOPHER WHELAN 58, Echuca Yes. It's a way to try to get them off heroin and the harder drugs, and it'sa safe way for them to do it.

CHRISTOPHER MASON 40, Seddon As a part of a national management program, yes I do. It's a multifacetedproblem with no simple solution. It won't ever be solved, but it should bemanaged.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Unacceptable is the conclusion of the opposition party in the State of Tasmania, Australia, where 600 patients receive methadone maintenance in facilities that are now "closed" to further enrollment because "capacity" has been reached.

It's good to see outrage expressed over making applicants wait for addiction treatment, all the while endangering their own lives and that of others.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


According to a BBC news source (10/12/05) it's claimed that on the streets of the Republic of Georgia 800 buprenorphine tablets (no clue as to dose) are valued at $80,000(US). Wow! One can only wonder how long a "pilot" buprenorphine study will survive in Georgia or other nations of the region. RGN

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Latest Weapon in the War Against Drugs: WASPS

A stinging attack on those who traffic in drugs may beat hand. The newest weapon: WASPS! (GEOlino.de,"Wespen als Spürhunde" (25.10.2005) Specially bred wasps may be able to detect contraband drugs, weapons and other such forbidden materials. Success has been achieved already with certain types of mushrooms. "The investigators . . . see this as a beneficial altertnative to dogs, who are more difficult to train and to maintain." Boy, going through customs is going to become more and more exciting than ever! Don't always want to see the gloomy side of things, but are we sure that wasps don't pollinate those evil opium poppies, coca plants and marijuana bushes?? Anyway, it seems premature for drug warriors to give up their day jobs. rgn (thanks to Ralf Gerlachfor sending this on)