Pubdate: Wed, 30 May 2001
Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Copyright: 2001 The Register-Guard
Author: Tom Arnold
Bookmark: (Methadone)


I read with interest that Lane County is planning to discontinue the
practice of methadone treatment for heroin addicts incarcerated at the
county jail (Register-Guard, May 23).

I was a counselor for two years at a methadone maintenance treatment
program in New York City. County decision makers should be aware that
while sudden withdrawal from heroin could cause severe discomfort,
physical pain, vomiting and general physiological distress, it will
seldom, if ever, cause death. Sudden withdrawal from methadone, however,
especially in higher dosages (70, 80 or 90 milligrams) can be fatal.

Regardless of the questions of political correctness, social morals,
etc., the legal ramifications should not be forgotten. If the county
cannot find the funds to pay for another nurse or two to administer the
program, it will hardly be in a position to defend or satisfy a lawsuit
from the family of the first addict/inmate to die from sudden methadone

Tom Arnold, Elmira
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