Pubdate: Fri, 18 Jun 2004
Source: Register-Herald, The (Beckley, WV)
Copyright: 2004 The Register-Herald
Author: Andrea Hammel


My recent letter to the editor regarding a need for more methadone
treatment clinics was criticized by a local resident as "ridiculous"
and "insane." To say that we should take away methadone clinics
because, and I quote, "the best way to get hooked off drugs ... is to
never start in the first place" is like saying we should stop trying
to cure cancer in smokers. People are addicted, and they are going to
continue to become addicted, because of sociological issues that seem
far out of the reach of understanding for my editorial opponent.

It is medical fact that methadone is not used in a clinical treatment
facility to get people "high," and users who seek treatment are doing
what you would hope, trying to get better. Methadone may not "cure"
addiction completely in 100 percent of cases, but it takes away the
desire for the highly addictive drug. Any number of "successes" a
clinic has are a benefit to society.

So you see, any user who stops abusing illegal drugs and does not
return to a life of crime is a success. If a person uses methadone to
live a normal life, isn't that better than living on the streets?

My letter and opinion stand backed by the burden of proof: Studies
consistently prove in favor of my argument - methadone treatment is
successful in reducing crime, helping individuals lead more productive
lives and reducing harm to "innocents" like us. You can yell any
argument you want, but the facts remain just that.

Take away the methadone clinics and what you will have is just more
crime, more illegal drug abuse and more societal problems. Anyone
would be "insane" to wish treatment programs like methadone clinics
were gone.

Andrea Hammel

Lawrenceville, N.J.
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