IN SCOTLAND THEY STILL DON’T GET IT: ADDICTION IS A CHRONIC MEDICAL DISEASE
Recent editorial comments and news articles reflect a new wave of attacks in Scotland on what’s described as the “quick methadone fix” (editorial, The Scotsman, 22 July), and the “’Black cloud’ of methadone use” (Scotsman 24 July). The current vitriol is occasioned by the tragic death of a two-year old who ingested her mother’s methadone, at a time when revised estimates suggest there are 21,000 opiate-dependent individuals who receive methadone maintenance, 7,000 of whom live in households with children under age 16. This has occasioned the leader of the Tories, Annabel Goldie, to urge a “programme that eradicates, rather than manages, the problem…”, and Fergus Ewing, the safety minister, “…promised to improve service provision to get people off methadone.”
Imagine politicians promising to “get people off insulin,” or dismissing medication that “manages” but fails to “eradicate” hypertension, asthma, arthritis, AIDS, etc! Consider attacking Alcoholics Anonymous because while it has helped countless alcoholics remain abstinent, it adamantly refuses to accept the notion that the disease of alcoholism can be “cured.”
Addiction is a chronic medical disease; get used to it! The good news is that it can be treated, often with extremely positive results, and the more people who need treatment that get it, the better.