Pubdate: Mon, 22 Apr 2002
Source: Times Leader (PA)
Copyright: 2002 The Times Leader
Author: Robert Newman
Bookmark: (Methadone)


Regarding "A tale of heroin to methadone and back again" published March 
31: The experience of the McDonalds is dramatic testimony to the 
effectiveness of methadone treatment for opioid dependence, and the 
imperative need to provide it to all who want and need this medication. 
Thus, you report on how methadone led to "their success in beating their 
heroin habit ... and helped bring them close together with their two young 
children." And, indeed, you state that for more than five years they were 
clean. And then what? They moved to a region of the state that had (and 
still has) no access to methadone treatment, and ultimately they relapsed.

Even without being juxtaposed to this impressive tale of methadone 
maintenance success, it is perplexing to see the Edwardsville Police Chief 
dismiss the medication, methadone. Does the Chief also make public 
pronouncements over the relative merits of cardiac catheterization versus 
open-heart surgery? Or regarding which of the many insulin preparations are 
acceptable, and which are not?

Whatever might have contributed to his dismissive attitude toward 
methadone, surely the case of the McDonalds should cause him to reconsider.

The police chief, and the entire community, would do well to consider the 
words of the person most affected, Mr. McDonald: "They need (methadone 
treatment) up here." And until this need is met, not only drug users but 
the entire population will pay the price.

Robert Newman, MD,

Director, Baron Edmond de rothschild Chemical Dependency Institute,

Beth Israel Medical Center, NYC
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