THE [METHADONE] PATIENT BE DAMNED (Ireland):
This seems to be the theme in a dispute between the Health Services Executive and some 140 pharmacists who have "boycotted methadone dispensing service for a second day running" because of a pay dispute. Up to 3,000 patients are affected and many are being directed to a hospital in "an isolated rural area" that requires daily travel by train and bus.
Full story, under the headline, "Anger as HSE 'send addicts to village'": Irish Independent, 17 Oct.
MORE ON PLIGHT OF IRISH METHADONE PATIENTS: An Irish Independent editorial (Oct.18) notes, “People are on methadone because they recognise they have a heroin problem and have taken steps to address it.” The current dispute between pharmacists and the Health Service is complex, but the one service NOT at issue is methadone dispensing. Nevertheless, pharmacists are “…cynically using [methadone patients] as pawns in their industrial dispute.”
The article’s conclusion is eloquent – and depressing: “Suspending service to this group of people is callous, crude and contemptuous. It's a case of the strong throwing the weak to the wolves. Shame on the pharmacists.”