Pubdate: Mon, 24 Apr 2000
Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)
Copyright: 2000, Bangor Daily News Inc.
Author: J. Noble Snowdeal


Being 41 and a lifelong resident of Washington County, I have witnessed 
with despair the growing horror of opiate addiction in Maine. I have 
watched as friends from all walks of life have succumbed to this deadly 
evil. I have seen how people have progressed from Percocet to OxyContin, to 
Dilaudid and other opiate substances in their ever-growing quest for the 
warm cuddly feeling.

I have seen how loved ones can go from using Percocet to being daily users 
of the methadone clinic in Portland. I have noted that opiate addiction 
seems to start with recreational prescription drug use. Then when the 
script runs out addicts run to Bangor and cities south to fill their need 
with illegal heroin.

Two friends of mine attend the methadone clinic in Portland. One has used 
the clinic as often as the rules would allow for two years. The other has 
recently moved to Portland and now attends the clinic as much as allowed. 
Both supplement their need for opiates (after clinic hours) with whatever 
they can procure from the street. They use everything from acetaminophen 
with codeine to heroin.

I am told by my friends who attend the Portland clinic that they cannot use 
methadone as they would heroin or scripts - they say methadone cannot be 
shot up because it turns to a gel when hit with water. It cannot be snorted 
because it burns the mucus membranes.

If many opiate addictions start with improper prescription drug use, why is 
it that prescription drugs don't have preventatives in them as methadone 
does? If the drug manufacturing companies made prescription drugs 
un-snortable or unshootable then a large segment of society would not 
develop an addiction in the first place. And seeing methadone is not a 
cure, is not prevention the way to go?

J. Noble Snowdeal, Jonesboro
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