Pubdate: Thu, 10 Jul 2008
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Newsquest Media Group
Author: George Smith


Jean Calder must be applauded for highlighting the dangers of 
methadone as a "treatment" for drug addicts (The Argus, July 5).

The Government persists in having crime and harm reduction as the 
main aims in its misguided drugs policy, not the personal well-being 
of the addict and their family.

The public would be shocked that, in spite of the many millions of 
pounds spent on "drug treatment", barely three per cent of drug users 
in England complete their treatment drug-free. Most either carry on 
using illegal drugs or are condemned to a life on methadone.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has said 
that the NHS should not pay the UKP2.50 a day it would cost to treat 
patients suffering mild symptoms associated with moderate and late 
stage Alzheimer's disease. Yet it freely supplies methadone to 
addicts at UKP8.22 a day when there is a more cost-effective and 
humane alternative, ie, helping people to stop using drugs.

Jean Calder has in recent weeks highlighted the situation of those 
suffering from Alzheimer's and those on methadone. The Government 
would do well to make her column compulsory reading for its ministers 
and advisers.

George Smith,  Vere Road, Brighton
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