Pubdate: Wed, 29 Sep, 1999
Source: Canberra Times (Australia)
Author: Geoff Page


CONGRATULATIONS on Catriona Jackson's article on Naltrexone (CT,
September 19, p.9). Its treatment of 'Leon and John (not their real
names)' was exemplary in its lack of hysteria, its use of hard
research, its presentation of both sides of the case and, most of all,
its treatment of heroin addiction as a medical and psychological
problem rather then merely a criminal one.

It was likewise interesting to see the pros and cons of the methadone
program so sensibly presented and that ' Leon' was contriving to run
his own high-technology business rather than doing street crime, as
the less discriminating journals tend to have it.

With recent, more positive (though less systematic) results at
Westmead Hospital, it is clear that

(1) Naltrexone does have a significant role to play in detoxification
and rehabilitation; (2) that it does involve some risk and (3) that it
doesn't suit everybody.

Surely it's time, however, that the offer of Naltrexone treatment
under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme be made to all those who have
been stable on the methadone program for at least a year. If it worked
for ' John and Leon' it might well work for quite a few others too.


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