View attachment 27756 MANY addicts we spoke to openly admitted to using methadone AND heroin – a combination that has resulted in hundreds of drug deaths.
A CONSTANT stream of addicts file into Houlihan Pharmacy for their daily hit of methadone.
The shop sits in one of Glasgow’s poorest areas and comprises a needle exchange on the left and a chemist shop, where the heroin substitute is handed out, on the right.
The chemist on Saracen Street, Possilpark, is Scotland’s biggest single supplier of methadone, taking in £856,255 from 2006 to 2011.
Addicts we spoke to made a nonsense of the claim that the Class A drug is being used to cure their addiction.
Many openly admitted they used methadone AND heroin – a combination that has resulted in hundreds of drug deaths.
View attachment 27757 Matt Dempsey, 44, from Possilpark, only became an addict when he was jailed.
He said: “I’ve been on methadone since I got out of prison in 2004. I got addicted to heroin while I was inside.
“At the chemist, they just want to get you in, give you a hit then get you out the door again.
“I would love to get off methadone and heroin but I’ve never been offered any help to do that.
“I get my prescription from a doctor at the health centre every few months then come here every day to get my methadone and that is that.
“On a Saturday, they give you Sunday’s dose away with you because the chemist is shut on Sunday.
“It’s all money for the pharmacist, I suppose – he doesn’t care what happens to me, so long as he gets paid.
“The needle exchange is right next door so you can use that if you need to change needles when you’re injecting smack.
“There are hundreds of junkies coming in here for methadone. They even come in on the bus from other parts of town.
“Some mornings, there will be a queue from about 8.30am waiting for the place to open at nine.”
View attachment 27759 Vera Rooney, 46, from Possilpark, said: “All the junkies use this place. It’s set up for methadone – I think that’s the main thing they do.
“You get your methadone in the morning and then take smack later on if you can get the money for it.
“Everyone is taking both. They know that here because it’s the same staff who work in the needle exchange. I’d like to stop taking methadone and heroin but you don’t get the chance.
“I’ve never been given any help to beat the addiction. The only thing I’ve been given is methadone.
“I’ve been on methadone for 15 years. There is no help for smackheads out there. People just want us out of their faces.
“So long as we’re not causing any bother, nobody cares.
“Everyone is making their money from methadone so nothing is going to change.”
Anne Muir, 31, from Lambhill, visited the needle exchange. An addict for 10 years, she said: “They all seem nice enough people at Houlihan’s.“I used to get my methadone there but today I was just using the needle exchange.
“Being on smack isn’t a great life but I’m going to come off it some time.
“I’ve never been given any help to get off. I just go to the clinic and they give me a prescription then I get my methadone.
“I don’t think it’s really solving anything but that’s the way they do it.”
As our reporter was talking to drug users outside, a furious member of staff rushed out of the pharmacy.
She said: “You can’t talk to people out here. Don’t take pictures of the shop. We have been warned about you.”
While owner Denis Houlihan makes a fortune giving hundreds of users their daily hit, others living in Possilpark aren’t so happy.
One resident, who didn’t want to be named, said: “It is an absolute nightmare having this place here. It just makes the street a haven for drug addicts.
“You see them hanging about there every day, queuing up in the morning then later they will be falling about the streets.
“It makes me sick to think they are being given drugs by the Government while claiming all sorts of benefits at the same time.
“I’m 60 years old and I’ve lived here all my life – it didn’t used to be like this.
“Last week, I was fined £40 by the police for opening a can of beer in the street on a nice sunny day. As the cop was writing out the ticket, I could see a junkie going in for his hit of methadone.
“It is a disgrace that the system is allowing this to happen.
“We’ve got a recession on and at the same time people going out to work are having to pay for drugs for junkies.
“Nobody here wants to speak out about it because all the junkies getting their methadone are taking heroin and know the big dealers in the area.
“Nobody wants to upset those guys.”
THE NHS’s dependency on methadone was slammed by experts, addicts’ relatives and drug abusers yesterday.
David Black is chairman of the Haven rehab centre in Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire.
He said: “Methadone shouldn’t be a long-term solution but at the moment it is used as one.
“We have a successful rehab centre and we have a waiting list of people who want access to our services.
“We receive no government funding other than the housing benefit money that our
residents are entitled to.
“I think a review of drug policy is long overdue and we need to start looking at recovery programmes rather than maintenance programmes, which is what methadone offers people.”
Roy Lees, of addiction charity Teen Challenge, added: “We definitely need to take a good look at how we are doing things at the moment.
“Methadone seems to be the only option so far as the government is concerned and that needs to change.”
Anne McDermott’s 28-year-old son Scott is addicted to methadone and heroin.
Anne, from Stockbridge in Edinburgh, said: “My son has been a drug addict for more than 10 years and he has been on methadone for eight years.
“I know he still takes heroin and I can’t see any end to the treatment he is on.
“If you are convicted of a crime you are put on a drug treatment order where you are drug tested every week.
“If you have drugs in your system you end up back in court and can ultimately be sent to prison.
“I think this is the only system that worked for my son. He got into trouble a few years a go and for the time he was on the order he stayed clean.
“I think it is ridiculous that you have to commit a crime to get access to this kind of scheme.
“I would support a system where there was drug testing linked to benefits payments.”
Gary Rattray, 42, has been on methadone for 20 years. He said: “I tried rehab when I was younger and it worked for a while. When I got out on to the streets, I fell back into drugs.”
News article by John Ferguson on DailyRecord.co.uk 21st August 2012
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Methadone madness: Users slam claim that drug is being used to cure addiction