Pubdate: Tue, 09 Dec 2003
Source: Register-Herald, The (Beckley, WV)
Copyright: 2003 The Register-Herald
Author: Andrea Hammel


As an online reader of The Register-Herald, I came across the letter 
"Methadone clinics are a Band-Aid."

The writer is sorely mistaken and needs to understand the facts of 
addiction and methadone ...

Addicts who go to methadone clinics, for the most part, are there to get 
better. A few bad apples who go to "get high" are absolutely weeded out. No 
methadone clinic gives out the drug blindly without watching the progress 
of the user.

The point of methadone clinics is not to "get people high." The general 
procedure is that methadone is prescribed first in higher doses, to 
alleviate withdrawal, and then titrated down to eventually no methadone. 
Very few addicts will remain on methadone indefinitely - this is simply not 
how clinics operate.

This is another example of someone misunderstanding the system, not knowing 
the facts and trying to stop a much-needed, effective community service 
based upon incorrect assumptions.

Yes, a few addicts will always fall through the cracks and abuse the 
system. But methadone clinics do far more good than harm, and we should all 
be thankful for recovered heroin addicts who won't be on the streets as a 
threat to society.

The existing data overwhelmingly supports the success of methadone 
treatment centers throughout the United States, and only a fool would wish 
them gone. We need more methadone clinics, not fewer. The drug addiction 
problem in this country is rampant, and as long as addicts have nowhere to 
turn for help, drug crimes will continue to rise.

Andrea Hammel

Lawrenceville, N.J.
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