Scotland’s methadone programme causes concern

One of Scotland’s leading drugs experts says there is a big question mark over the size of the country’s methadone programme. Professor Neil McKeganey’s research found many people on the heroin substitute were still taking heroin as well.
22,000 adults in Scotland are on methadone, and that costs at least £25 million a year.
The report from Glasgow university’s centre for drug misuse research says the programme is “gargantuan in size and scale.”
The study, which looked at the behaviour of 400 drug users, found there was no significant difference between those on methadone and others when it came to not using heroin. It also found no significant difference between the groups in terms of committing crimes to pay for drugs.
The Scottish Government says there is evidence methadone can help stabilise those with chaotic lifestyles. It says the drugs strategy launched earlier this year recognises the need to move people on from methadone, but adds the challenge is to make sure the right support is available rather than promoting one type of treatment over others.
Source: 14 December 2008

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