Pubdate: Mon, 17 Jul 2000
Source: Record, The (CA)
Copyright: 2000 The Record
Contact:  P.O. Box 900, Stockton, CA 95201
Fax: (209) 547-8186
Author: Sherri Reese


San Joaquin County's crime rate is about to go up. How do I know this? The 
county's methadone clinic is about to start detoxing any participant who 
doesn't come up with the cash to continue getting his or her usual dose.

Each client is given a specific predetermined dose of methadone each day to 
help them not use the very addictive street drug heroin. This amount is 
carefully monitored with a counselor to encourage a slow and continuous 
reduction over a certain period of time. Many maintain regular jobs while 
their dosage is slowly reduced to ease the withdrawal effects of coming off 
the drug. These are the ones who will be punished by this new policy.

Clients who are not eligible for AFDC or Medi-Cal will be required to come 
up with an assigned co-payment in order to continue getting their usual 
dosage. If you don't have the cash, detox is started immediately. Of 
course, clients on AFDC or Medi-Cal don't have to worry. Only the ones 
trying to work and be self-supporting will have to have the cash 
immediately. It used to be that they could just add it to their bill. But 
not with this new policy.

Because the detox program is so severe, many will most certainly turn back 
to heroin to curb the withdrawal symptoms. In order to feed the body's need 
for heroin, addicts will resort to anything including burglary and 
stealing. Then we will be right back where we started. I don't think this 
was the intended purpose for the methadone clinic!

Sherri Reese, Manteca
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