UK Government Determined to “Push Ahead With 'Cold Turkey' Drug Policy”:
According to a 23 Aug article in The Telegraph “The Coalition is working on proposals to stop the widespread prescription of methadone for heroin users and instead increase the use of ‘cold turkey’ residential treatment programmes.” It is difficult to comprehend, even for the most cynical of observers! Are "cold turkey residential" programmes effective for some? Sure: among the relatively very small percentage of the heroin addicts who seek and enter such programmes there is a small proportion who "graduate" - and of these another small proportion have achieved and will maintain abstinence. Great. But to propose this as national policy in lieu of "widespread prescription of methadone" can only be described as madness. Aside from the (huge!) question of efficacy, a massive residential option could never be implemented for a host of reasons - starting with the financial requirement. Severely curtailing methadone treatment, alas, is possible - and the costs will be high for those dependent on opiates as well as for the general community. Before anyone recognizes what many decades of experience have consistently shown - there's no "cure" for addiction - the damage will have been done, many lives lost, more illness, more incarcerations, greater demand for (and thus inevitably supply of) illicit opiates, etc.
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