Pubdate: Sun, 06 Jul 2003
Source: Appalachian News-Express (KY)
Copyright: 2003 Appalachian News-Express


More and more drug addicts in the state are crossing the Kentucky border to 
find help, and it's not because there's a lack of assistance here.

In West Virginia, methadone clinics, where addicts hooked on OxyContin and 
other drugs get doses of methadone to help curb the addiction of other 
drugs, do not test for marijuana. In Kentucky, however, those in the 
clinics must be tested.

The reason is West Virginia doesn't have any state regulations on testing 
for other drugs, while Kentucky's laws mandate that patients be tested for 
marijuana, benzodiazepines, amphetamines and narcotics once a week for 26 
weeks and then once a month after that.

West Virginia is regulated only by federal laws, which call for testing 
eight times a year for drugs that may be lethal if mixed with methadone. 
Marijuana is not considered a contributor to a lethal mixture.

So until West Virginia clinics quit tending to Kentucky patients, 
Kentuckians can have their methadone and marijuana at the same time.

Federal laws need to change to prevent such a thing from happening. Since 
all drugs are illegal, the federal regulations should say that methadone 
clinics can't treat anyone while they are still doing drugs, no matter what 
the drug happens to be.

Kentucky has the right idea. If you are going to help someone, make sure 
they are not hitting a joint as soon as they exit the double doors.

Eastern Kentucky's drug problem is an epidemic. It's not going to be solved 
until we start working with others in the region to eradicate the drugs.

The problem is that methadone clinics are for-profit, which means if 
everyone were off drugs they would be out of business.

But if the clinics truly wanted to help, they would get rid of all the 
drugs, not just some of them.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens