Pubdate: Fri, 9 Apr 1999
Source: Illawarra Mercury (Australia)
Copyright: Illawarra Newspapers
Author: Andrew Byrne


TOM McCrimmon feels that because he benefited from one form of treatment
that all other heroin addicts should be denied any other type of treatment.

His total confidence in prohibition is not shared by many experts, including
our police commissioner and director of public prosecutions.

Long-term rehabilitation should be available, yes. But any other modality
which works for a proportion of addicts should also be used.

What Mr McCrimmon states about heroin has not been the experience of the
researchers in Switzerland.

Rather than continually escalating their doses, the trial patients
stabilised on an average of less than half a gram a day and in most cases
got on with their lives.

A majority of heroin addicts actually declined heroin prescription after six
months of alternative treatments.

Why ever would Mr McCrimmon wish to deny other addicts a proven and
life-saving treatment such as methadone?

Dr ANDREW BYRNE, General Practitioner, Drug and Alcohol, Redfern.

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