Pubdate: Thu, 06 Apr 2006
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 The Toronto Star
Author: Brent Taylor
Bookmark: (Methadone)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Re: Dispensing a solution, Editorial, April 4

Your editorial applauding Health Minister George Smitherman's 
establishment of a task force to look into methadone dispensing in 
Ontario ends, "They deserve a better system." Yes we, "the addicts", 
do deserve a better system. Yet once again the system creates a task 
force and we, "the addicts", are not included.

Like Smitherman, we are concerned about methadone treatment in 
Ontario. After all, it is our lives that are most directly affected 
by methadone policies, old and new. Yet once again, we are not 
consulted. Just like the doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and the 
coroner, we are experts too. But our expert opinions are not sought, 
even though we have much to contribute.

Methadone is unlike most medicines. It is not effective simply by 
taking it. Methadone maintenance is a social system of treatment, as 
much as it is a biochemical one.

For the methadone treatment system to work effectively patients have 
to work the methadone treatment system and the system of methadone 
treatment has to work for the patients. Only we can provide feedback 
on the impact of system designs upon us.

It is not only demeaning, marginalizing, and prejudicial to not 
include us on the methadone task force, it isn't even common sense. 
Because it is our perception of the methadone treatment system in 
Ontario and our feelings regarding how that system impacts upon us 
which are critical in determining its practical effectiveness.

Thus, it simply makes good sense, as well as public-health sense and 
ethical and human rights sense, that we be included in contributing 
to the methadone treatment system's design in Ontario. It is high 
time we Ontarians recognize the benefits of greater and more 
meaningful involvement of people who use methadone in the development 
of better policy responses to the methadone maintenance system in 
this province. We Ontarians deserve a better methadone task force -- 
one that includes "the addicts."

Brent Taylor

Unified Networkers of Drug Users Nationally

Arden, Ont.
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