Thursday, March 25, 2010


A recent headline in Edinburgh Evening News (Mar 23) proclaims: “Methadone: there’s little evidence of any real progress.” The article notes that of Scotland’s 77 million pounds (about $US 112 million) spent on combating drug misuse, about 25 million pounds ($US 37 million) is allocated to methadone treatment for some 20,000 patients. That comes to under $US 2,000 per patient per year. Does anyone suggest the money could be better spent to save lives ... and to protect the community at large? And yet, methadone is rejected because “only 3% of addicts entering the substitute programme emerge drug-free.” One must ask: how many diabetics receiving insulin “emerge drug free”? What proportion of patients receiving treatment for epilepsy, or coronary artery disease, or hypertension, or ...? Until we apply same standards to methadone as to the treatment provided for other chronic ailments, methadone treatment will continue to be rejected. For full story click here.


At 4:02 PM, Blogger Garrett McGovern said...

Has the writer of this piece ever considered what happens when methadone is discontinued, particularly against the wishes of patients? Deterioration and, in a significant number of cases, death. Whilst I dislike measuring medical treatment in terms of cost, methadone maintenance treatment is phenomenal value for money. It has been evaluated through decades of research and is probably the single most effective intervention in opioid dependence.


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