Pubdate: Sun, 09 Aug 2015
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2015 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Robert G. Newman


Yvonne Abraham describes the shame associated in our society with 
being an opioid-dependent patient whose physician has determined the 
optimal treatment to be methadone maintenance ("Shame clouds their 
recovery," Metro, Aug. 1). This great shame prevents patients - 
especially the most successful patients - from acknowledging their 
treatment to family, friends, employers, and others, and acts as a 
major barrier preventing many who need help most from seeking and obtaining it.

Yet methadone maintenance is widely considered to be the gold 
standard of addiction treatment, and enjoys the strong endorsement of 
such respected bodies as the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the 
Institute of Medicine, and the World Health Organization.

Abraham concludes by noting that the shame associated with methadone 
treatment is society's problem, and not that of individual patients. 
This problem, however, will never be solved until it is addressed, 
and addressed effectively, by our elected and appointed government 
officials. It's their obligation to tackle this stigma, and the 
American public, in the interests of everyone, should demand they 
meet that obligation.

Dr. Robert G. Newman

New York

The writer is president emeritus of Beth Israel Medical Center in New 
York and formerly served as assistant commissioner for addiction with 
the New York City Health Department.
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