Thursday, November 09, 2006

SAMHSA Could and Should Correct Misperceptions

The Salt Lake Tribune story (Nov 7th), "Deaths spur new scrutiny of clinics - tough rules proposed for opiate-addict treatment." ( provides gross misinformation.

I believe SAMHSA has an obligation and a responsibility to correct this misinterpretation, which clearly will lead to action threatening to impair treatment access and quality.

SAMHSA, to its great credit, spent a fair bit of money and time and effort and convened a group of experts that took a year to come up with a crystal clear summary: when it coms to methadone deaths "clinics are not the culprit."

Surely SAMHSA could correct the misperceptions through a brief Letter-to-the-Editor, that will otherwise lead State officials to "mandate more frequent urinary analyses of clients and face-to-face visits with doctors and counselors." Worse than these unnecessary, often demeaning, expensive (money and staff), time consuming rules for patients ("clients") is the strongly negative message conveyed by stories like this to a public already very hostile to addiction treatment and those who receive it.

We ask your assistance by writing to SAMHSA representatives and asking them to take action (westley clark


At 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are so right,Dr Newman. The media only portrays the hysteria and feeds the stigma that surrounds this life saving medication that saves thousands upon thousands of lives daily on this planet. But you won't hear those stories in the paper,doesn't sell like hysteria does. This only feeds the stigma that each of us live with every day,whether we are in the the very broken clinic system or lucky enough to be in an OBOT or receive our meds from our primary Dr's for chronic pain. Still each time this word is spoken faces are made and derogatory remarks are heard and patients will step further and further into the closet rather then try to educate themselves and be empowered. It's time for us to be able to come out of the closets and proudly state to anyone who has a brain"METHADONE IS MEDICINE AND IT SAVES MY LIFE EVERYDAY". However some patients are stuck in themes where even their own family does not know they are on this medication. Now that is STIGMA and very sad. Families should be proud to have someone saving their life with this medication rather then breaking the law,injecting something that could kill them,be subjected to viruses such as HIV/AIDS/HAV/HBV/HCV/TB/HPV and the list goes on and on.

Thank you Dr Newman for trying to educate those who still run for the hills when methadone is mentioned. NAMA Advocates also fight Stigma on a daily basis,even around Harm Reduction people. It isn't as bad as it used to be,but it could be better. Hopefully with my help and the help of each NAMA Chapter and Affiliate it will get better still.

It was great to finally meet you and to see Holly again,and yes this is me,Holly :)

Keep Fighting the Good Fight

Rokki Baker


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