Pubdate: Thu, 20 Aug 1998
Date: 08/20/1998
Source: New York Times (NY)
Author: Eric J. Simon

To the Editor:

Re "Giuliani Orders 5 City Hospitals to Wean Addicts Off Methadone"
(front page, Aug. 15): I do not know where Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's
experts get their information, but there is abundant evidence showing
that the majority of addicts withdrawn from methadone revert to street
use of intravenous heroin.

The Mayor is wrong in arguing that methadone substitutes one
dependency for another. Patients do not get a "high" from methadone.
They quickly develop tolerance to the oral drug. The analogy to
insulin is a far more apt one.

Mayor Giuliani is in the process of destroying the only drug abuse
treatment program widely acknowledged by medical and drug abuse
experts to work.

Eric J. Simon
New York

The writer is a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at New York
University Medical Center.