Pubdate: Sat, 07 Feb 2004
Source: Charleston Daily Mail (WV)
Copyright: 2004 Charleston Daily Mail
Author: Charles "Hoss" Kitts, Jr.


I respond to the article in the Jan. 22 Daily Mail, "Methadone clinics
forced to wait." In particular, I respond to Dr. Ahmet "Ozzie" Ozturk. The
reporter said Ozturk "believes the clinics tend to treat patients with more
methadone than is needed and don't test urine with much scrutiny to make
sure the patient is getting it."

He said he's heard from his own patients about others who establish a
relationship with a clinic, gain trust and then are allowed to take
home a couple of week's doses.

Some then sell methadone on the streets, Ozturk said.

These statements are absolutely untrue and I'm amazed that a newspaper
with integrity would print such erroneous statements.

I am co-director of the Virginia Chapter of the National Alliance of
Methadone Advocates.

A big part of our mission is to educate the public that there are many
myths, rumors and outright lies floating around concerning methadone
maintenance treatment.

Dr. Ozturk should be aware that pain-pill addiction is rampant in this
state and that the National Institute of Health, the American Medical
Association, the President's Council on Drug Addiction and Treatment,
and any number of other organizations have said that methadone
maintenance is the most effective way of treating the disease that is
drug addiction.

There is no questioning this.

The fact is 90 percent of the illicit methadone that is confiscated on
the street is in pill form. Most methadone clinics dispense liquid
methadone, and the pill form is prescribed by pain

To earn what patients and clinics call "take-homes," the patient must
go through months of daily dosing, counseling, weekly random urine
samples, etc., and the patient that is getting "a couple of weeks'
doses" has been in treatment and been fully compliant for at least two
years and has proven to the medical staff and themselves that they are
serious about their treatment and would never think of selling their
methadone on the street.

I'm asking again that people know the truth and get the facts before
they make a decision on methadone maintenance treatment.

As your article stated, this is an important time for this treatment
in West Virginia.

Charles "Hoss" Kitts, Jr.

Bluefield, Va.
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