Pubdate: Tue, 15 Jan 2002
Source: Scranton Times (PA)
Copyright: 2002 The ScrantonTimes/Shamrock Communications
Author:  Joycelyn Woods
Bookmark: (Methadone)
Bookmark: (Heroin Maintenance)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


The National Alliance of Methadone Advocates wishes to respond to 
your Dec. 30 article and Dec. 31 editorial about the local heroin 

Deaths reported from overdose in your area are excessive because 
access to treatment in the region has not been adequately addressed.

Regulations for the Pennsylvania Department of Health mandate that 
methadone treatment be available for individuals suffering from the 
brain disorder of opiate addiction. Lackawanna County is not doing 
its part to deal with the devastating local epidemic.

After about a year or more of daily heroin use, permanent brain 
damage occurs to the majority of users. After this time, the relapse 
rate without methadone treatment is close to 100 percent.

The National Institutes of Health has established opiate dependence 
as a measurable brain disorder.

Some resistance to methadone treatment results from fallacies 
regarding racial stereotyping. In this way, some individuals express 
racism without taking responsibility for it, or experiencing the 
social and legal consequences. Celebration of Martin Luther King Day 
should include the rejection of all discrimination, regardless of the 
degree of subtlety.

Joycelyn Woods President, NAMA New York City
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