SCOTTISH chemists are making millions in taxpayers’ money for handing out methadone to drug addicts.
A total of £19million a year has been set aside to pay chains and independent pharmacies to offer the over-the-counter heroin substitute.
Twenty-two chemists were paid £2million between them for offering the drug, which is prescribed to wean addicts from opiates, while some pharmacy owners have taken upwards of £100,000 each for methadone services.
Top of the earners was pharmacy chain Boots, who received £3.9million of public funds in 2012.
Lloyds Pharmacy was also paid £3.6million for offering the service while the Co-operative Group cashed in to the tune of £739,000.
Shops all over the country are also making money from the NHS policy to offer the drugs in store with 1,200 chemists across the land raking in £16,000 each.
Possilpark’s Denis Houlihan’s claimed £117,000 in 2012, bringing its total earnings to almost £1million since 2007.
Tory health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: “The increase in payments relating to methadone is extremely concerning.
“Instead of efforts being made to get people off drugs completely, too many are being parked on the drug for years.
“This is of no benefit to the individual, and comes at a greater cost to the taxpayer.”
Scotland’s methadone programme was launched 15 years ago as an attempt to wean addicts off heroin and to clamp down on organised crime gangs preying on the vulnerable.
The treatment was originally intended to be offered a rehabilitation support mechanism, but it has now been claimed it is not effective and instead fuels a whole new addiction problem.
Indeed the number of people receiving prescriptions has also shot up to 22,000 compared with 18,000 in 2004 and 15,800 in 2002.
And the country now has more methadone users per head of population than every other country in Europe.
By: Siobhan McFadyen
Published: Mon, May 19, 2014
Daily Express UK
The Newhawks Crew
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