Pubdate: Tue, 09 Jul 2002
Source: Spartanburg Herald Journal (SC)
Copyright: 2002 The Spartanburg Herald-Journal
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)
Bookmark: (Methadone)


Current Approach To The War Against Drugs Isn't Working

By Robert Sharpe

Spartanburg residents need not fear a new methadone clinic. Methadone 
maintenance is the most effective known treatment for heroin addiction. 
It's also a viable treatment for synthetic opiates like OxyContin.

Methadone staves off potentially deadly withdrawal symptoms but does not 
produce a high that prevents patients from living productive lives. 
Methadone maintenance programs have been proven to reduce drug use and 
related crime, death and disease among chronic drug users.

Addicts would not be sharing needles if not for zero tolerance laws that 
restrict access to clean syringes, nor would they be committing crimes to 
support their habits if not for artificially inflated black market prices.

Methadone maintenance is a prime example of harm reduction, an alternative 
approach to drug policy and treatment that seeks to minimize the adverse 
effects of both drug use and drug prohibition.

America's drug problem is far too serious to allow zero tolerance to 
dominate the debate at the expense of public health. Drug abuse is bad, but 
the zero tolerance drug war is worse.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth