Pubdate: Thu, 16 Jul 2009
Source: Tri-City News (Port Coquitlam, CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Tri-City News
Author: Gerry Gramozis


The Editor,

Re. "Coq. bans 'undesirable' businesses" (The Tri-City News, July 15).

Regarding the Coquitlam city council's recent decision to ban 
methadone clinics, I wish to voice how disgusted I am with this 
decision. Methadone clinics are viable treatment options for 
individuals struggling with addiction issues. To ban these clinics 
from operating in the city serves to only further exacerbate the 
problems faced by individuals seeking treatment.

Methadone clinics have a proven track record within Canada in 
supporting individuals facing addiction-related issues. Methadone in 
and of itself is a proven method of treatment; by giving the patient 
access to a stable supply of legal, pharmaceutical-grade medication, 
he is provided with a respite from the stress of maintaining a 
constant supply of illicit drugs.

Consequently, the use of methadone reduces the use of opioids and 
other substances (e.g., cocaine) and provides for a reduction in 
criminal activity and prostitution.

Methadone reduces mortality rates and thus serves as a bridge to 
stabilization and reintegration. The clinics themselves, due to the 
educational services provided, see a reduction of injected related 
mishaps such as wounds, abscesses and other bacteriological 
infection. Additional benefits come from a reduction in transmission 
of HIV, HCV, STI and other blood-related pathogens.

Individuals who use methadone see improvement, physically and 
mentally, with social functioning and quality of life becoming 
normal. For women who are pregnant, methadone decreases obstetrical 
and fetal complications, protecting the fetus from erratic opioid 
levels and frequent opioid withdrawal symptoms.

These benefits, which I have only briefly described, have been 
effectively barred for any resident of Coquitlam. Barring methadone 
clinics from operating is akin to suggesting residents of Coquitlam 
do not have any drug problems, a notion that is false, short-sighted 
and ignorant.

Coquitlam does have drug problems. We have illicit substances in our 
high schools and we have adults facing their own issues. With a 
growing awareness that support and services are needed to help 
individuals facing addiction issues, this city should be encouraging 
methadone clinics. It also should be encouraging and supporting other 
drug-related services. We should not be going backwards - but sadly, 
this is what has happened.

Gerry Gramozis, Coquitlam
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom