Palliation …hmm. When I was the director of a drug agency the treatment of choice for opiate dependent users was methadone withdrawal. Now it appears to be methadone maintenance. The users I have worked with all wanted to get off drugs – they did not want to be maintained on a drug prescribed and dished out to them as ‘treatment’. By all means use methadone withdrawal for a short period of, say, 6-12 weeks – and at the same time help the user in a very intensive way through counselling, introduction to 12-step programmes, encouragement to join a self-help group, the opportunity (and possibly funding) to join a gym or a sports club, help with housing and employment or voluntary work and so on. This might need the setting up of special volunteer centres where those who would not pass a CRB check could still help in some way under supervision. I sometimes think that those who simply dish out methadone maintenance are little better than a dealer; most users do not want to be prescribed a legal drug as treatment – they want to be drug free.
And I cannot pass up an opportunity to plead for more funds for effective prevention – and please don’t tell me prevention doesn’t work ! Good prevention does work – I have seen it in Sweden and in parts of the USA and in small projects in the UK. What doesn’t work is a 20 minute lesson using drug education packs which promote the ‘informed choices’ agenda. Give a youngster a choice and some will choose to use – is this what you want ? Good prevention means no more mixed messages from the media, from drug education packs and from the government. The latest figures show that so-called harm reduction has been an abysmal failure – surely the tipping point has been reached and we must now help to prevent more people suffering the pain of addiction by getting back to a drugs strategy which has the prevention of use as its central objective and genuine harm reduction leading to abstinence as a secondary objective.
By AnnieS on 09/07/2009 at 6:51 PM – Report this comment


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