Monday, November 19, 2007

METHADONE ISSUE NEEDS REAL UNDERSTANDING:

Below is a good comprehensive Letter to the Editor responding to atrocious comments from a judge and prosecutor in New Hampshire.

Nov. 10 - To the Editor:
I am writing to express an alternative opinion to those expressed by both Judge Sawako Gardner and county jail superintendent Al Wright in the Nov. 9 Herald article by Elizabeth Dinan about the request of a "jail-bound woman" to continue her treatment for opiate dependence at an area methadone clinic.

Firstly, I would like to extend my thanks to both Gardner and Wright for their service to the community. As a fellow community member, however, I would like to offer some more accurate information about both addiction and the medically-based treatment of addiction.

As I am sure both Mr. Wright and Judge Gardner are aware, New Hampshire has a significant and rapidly increasing rate of opiate dependence. The cost to the community of any disease is high, but can be ameliorated with accurate information and appropriate services.

As scientific advances have been made regarding addiction, the stigma under which persons with addictions live has begun to lift. However, many misunderstandings still abound. Though there are other ways to treat opiate dependency, methadone therapy has been proven to be one of the most efficacious. Methadone treatment for opiate dependence has been used since the 1940s. Like the disease of addiction, methadone treatment has been stigmatized and misunderstood for decades. In conjunction with a daily dose of medication, methadone therapy, by law, includes participation in counseling for all patients. The medication treats the damage inflicted upon the brain by the abuse of opiates and keeps the patient stable (i.e., free of acute withdrawal symptoms and cravings) while, in counseling, they make the changes in their lives they need to make to live a life free of illicit use.
Because the abuse of opiates has such a profound impact on the brain, recovery is a long process. It is possible that the brains and bodies some opiate dependent persons will repair themselves in time. However, there is a percentage of patients who will need to be maintained on opiate replacement therapy for long periods of time - sometimes for life. When a patient decides to taper from his or her stable methadone dosage, it is done slowly and in conjunction with a physician and his or her counselor to lessen the chances of relapse and the return of withdrawal symptoms. Treatment is individualized and, therefore, it is both impossible and unfair to the patient to determine a length of time in treatment without accounting for individual situations and needs. Though both Judge Gardner and Mr. Wright posit that "long-term use is not recommended," studies of the efficacy of methadone treatment have proven the opposite (see Gerstein, et al. Evaluating Recovery Services: The California Drug and Alcohol Treatment Assessment (CALDATA): General Report. 1994; National Institute of Health (NIH). Effective Medical Treatment of Opiate Addiction. 1997).

Methadone treatment, therefore, is not a "legal addiction," but a replacement therapy for persons with the disease of addiction that allows them to live healthy, drug-free lives. Much like people with diabetes use insulin, methadone is used to make up deficits in the body's physiology. Though I understand that providing treatment to inmates is a "burden" when viewed in a certain light, I believe it is our duty as a community to increase our understanding of the problems we are facing - and viable solutions to those problems. Though the immediate cost of facilitating one inmate's continuation in methadone treatment might seem high, supporting treatment for addiction has been proven to lessen the costs to the community in the long run.

Lisa Feldman
Portsmouth

4 Comments:

At 4:59 AM, Anonymous John Johnson said...

I am a former maintence methadone user and 18 years heroin addict. I would like the article dated November 9, by Elizabeth Dinan before commenting.
Thanks,

John Johnson
pastorjej2020@yahoo.com

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger RGNewman, MD said...

Here is the link to the article:
http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071109/NEWS/711090444

 
At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI I BELIVE THIS STORY HITS THE NAIL RIGHT ON THE HEAD.I HAVE BEEN ON METHADONE HERE IN NEW JERSEY FOR 20 + YEARS.IF PEOPLE USE METHADONE IN THE CORRECT WAY LIKE I DO I MUST SAY THAT IT SAVED MY LIFE.I AM VERY VERY SORRY FOR THE PEOPLE THAT CAUGHT AIDS FROM A USED NEEDLE.MY BEST FRIEND SINCE WE WERE 7 ALWAYS HUNG OUT TOGETHER.BUT HE DECIDED TO GO ANOTHER PATH HE CAUGHT AIDS I TRYED MY VERY VERY BEST TO GET HIM TO GO INTO THE HOSPITAL.YOU COULD SEE HE WAS DIEING SLOWLY.HE HAS BEEN DEAD NOW FOR 11 YEARS LEAVING A BEAUIFUL DAUGHTER,& SON.I REALLY THINK HE WANTED TO DIE.1 DAY I WAS PASSING HIS HOME HE CALLED ME OVER JUST TO LIFT UP HIS SHIRT TO SHOW ME HE HAD OVER 15 100MILLAGRAMS FENTENYL PATCHES ON HIS CHEST MOST OF THEM WERE SO OLD THEY WERE FALLING OFF ON THIER OWN.BUT I MOST SAY IF YOU DO USE METHADONE CORRECTLY IT IS A VERY GOOD PAIN MEDICATION.I GO TO A PAIN MANAGEMENT YOU MUST HAVE OR SHOW THEM X-RAYS OF YOUR PAIN SPOT.I HAVE A CRACKED SKULL A BROKEN TIBA PLATEAU A BROKEN ANKLE AND 2 BADLY
HURT BACK DISCS I FELL OFF A 15 FOOT LADDER IN WORK RIGHT ON MY BACK.ALSO AFTER I HAD SURGERY ON MY KNEE I COULD NOT BELIVE THE PAIN I HAD I DID NOT KNOW GOD HAD THE POWER TO GIVE SOMEONE SO MUCH PAIN.I SCEARMED FOR 2 DAYS BEFORE THEY GOT A PAIN SPECIALIST THIS WAS IN 1992 I WAS ON METHADONE THE PAIN DOCTOR TOOK MY WEIGHT HEIGHT
AND HOW MUCH METH I WAS ON HE THEN CAME BACK HE TOLD ME YOU WILL NEVER SEE THIS ON THE STREETS I ASKED WHY HE SAID THE PRICE IS TO HIGH THE PAIN WAS STILL A 10 ++++
HE GAVE ME A FENTENYL DRIP ALONG WITH 2 100 MILLAGRAM PATCHES ON MY CHEST THE PAIN WAS GONE WITH IN SECONDS.TODAY I DO SEE PEOPLE SELLING FENTENLY PATCHES ALOT OF PEOPLE OVER DOSE FROM IT.ALOT OF
PUSHES MIX IT WITH XANAX AND COCOA
POWDER.SOME PUSHES JUST MIX XANAX WITH COCOA POWDER THE PEOPLE THINK ITS GREAT BECAUSE THEY NOD ASLEEP
BEWARE OF FENTENLY !!!!USE YOUR METHADONE CORRECTLY ONCE A DAY OR SPLIT THE DOSE INTO TWO AND TAKE IT EVERY 12 HOURS IF YOU READ THE
ABOUT IT IT SHOULD BE GIVEN EVERY 12 HOURS BUT MOST METHADONE CLINICS CAN NOT STAY OPEN 24 7
PLEASE STOP USING THAT GARBAGE IN THE STREETS ITS NOT HEROIN IT JUNK TODAY 2007 MAYBE BACK IN THELATE 60DS YOU COULD GET GOOD HEROIN BUT
NOT TODAY ASK ANY DEA AGENT I KNOW MANY OF THEM TAKE CARE & GOD BLESS YOU

 
At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i guess thats just were you live they got good chiva here not cocoa powder mixed with xanax

 

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