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  1. source
    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


  1. Aminatrix
    To that person who opened the beer and got a fine: you did it out in public, while the "junkie" went into a private establishment. Seems like you are causing a bigger public burden then they are.
  2. runnerupbeautyqueen
    What in the world was the point of this article? Was there any actual journalism required? Seems like all they did was stand out on the street and ask for peoples opinions on, well pretty much anything. And then whatever was said was printed.

    They're bitching about paying for methadone although it's one of the cheapest drugs there is. Definitely cheaper than suboxone/subutex.

    Why is everyone so upset that the pharmacy is making money? It's not a non profit organization, its a fucking a business. They run a business, they should be making money. What other incentive is there?

    There are so many things wrong with this article on so many levels. The journalism which was non existent, the opinions which were backed by nothing but anecdotal evidence, I reread this multiple times and still can't figure out what the point of it was.
  3. Twizal
    Don't like the creepy suggestion of benefits( oh wow and they are enough to live so well on) being linked to being clean......much cheaper for a gov in recession than actually doing what needs to be done, SIRooms , rehabs etc.
    Mind you if that proposal became law , the gov is going to end up with more crime , more violence etc and a bigger bill. Aren't the U.K jails bursting already?
    Crap sensationalism worthy of a 7th grader. Sadly as usual the real topic got hi-jacked and the addict gets lost even further into the stereotype.
    Going to check out this guy and see if I can contact him or the station. Will update ASAP .
  4. mickey_bee
    Arrrrrrrr, nothing new. An article from an insignificant paper that creates a story out of fuck all, by selectively interviewing certain individuals, and omitting almost any qualified arguments on the topic.

    Non-addicts pissed off with addicts getting what they see as an easy ride, and addicts pissed off with everyone because they want more smack.

    But really, addicts will say pretty much anything, especially to reporters, if it will show them as being the victims of the situation in some way. That's not to say that the drugs services there may well be poor quality - I've been to several, and the difference is pronounced.
    And that's not to say that most addicts haven't had very hard lives, and aren't, in a way, victims of xyz.

    But I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of the addicts interviewed here were actually at a semi-decent drugs service, but simply chose not to engage properly with the staff and treatment program there, because, deep-down, they didn't really want, or were ready, to get clean. Because that's the way the majority of addicts treat their drugs service. It's certainly how I did.

    Of course though, when the reporter comes knocking, you give them the poor me spiel, like you give to your prescribing doctor, your keyworker, your friends, your family, strangers - anyone who'll listen and can potentially improve your situation, regardless of whether it's true or not. It's part of addiction.

    I do get a bit pissed off when I read about addicts slagging off the drugs services in the UK. For starters, they're completely free. And the prescriptions are completely free if you're on benefits, otherwise it's £7.65 for 2 weeks of methadone. Hardly breaking the bank.

    Yes, the quality of service varies from place to place. There's definitely room for improvement..............but spare a thought for the 2.5 million Russian junkies with access to NOTHING.
  5. Alien Sex Fiend

    cannot not agree; but would it be any less illegal to open it inside and take out that opened can outside?
    same fine
    An intresting quiestion comes to mind; in public means in a not privet place, right? So what if that guy opened and drank that beer say locked in a toilet stall? Hey the door is locket, nobody can get in. The public is anywhere a place where anybody can just walk in at any moment.

    Or he had to own the toilet?
  6. KitKat84
  7. [tanarilla.]
    1. It's not the pharmacist's job to offer moral support/counselling to people who are on methadone. His job is to give it to these people and make sure that goes fine, and that's it.
    2. I find it really hard to believe that these people on methadone who claim they have not been offered any other support besides the methadone are telling the truth. There are so many services besides and on the NHS hat offer help and advice regarding addiction and all that comes with. Many of them are little charities and have nothing to do with the NHS and also they are entirely free, just like any NHS treatment.
    3. I'm not entirely sure about what the employees in the needle exchange are supposed to do when they spot someone who also gets their methadone from next door. Refuse an exchange? They can't force them not to take heroin and methadone at the same time, yet if they decided to refuse someone needles they would be acting counter productively.
    4. It's entirely up to the individual to take heroin and methadone at the same time. No one forces them to do it. If they know the risks, yet they do it anyway and die, all I can say is tough shit. You can't possibly blame the NHS for this [you can blame them for a lot of things and shitty services but not this], it's not their fault. I'm sure that everyone on methadone or when entering a maintenance programme is made aware of the risks of using heroin and methadone at the same time and if they are not, them some employees of the NHS are at fault and they need to be investigated and/or sacked.
    5. People living in the surrounding area are living on a different planet, that's really obvious. Come on. If it's the poorest area in Glasgow what do they expect? Clearly they'd rather have their houses broken into or their cars stolen instead of seeing the ques at the pharmacy. Also, if they don't like it, they can always move? I'm not sure about whether they'd rather have lots of drunken disorderly people wrecking things and whatnot than see the odd junkie. Because that's what it sounds like. [btw being fined £40 for opening a can of beer in a public place is ridiculous, I've never heard of such thing]
    6. I can't see anything wrong with how this pharmacy operates, what is the point of this article?
  8. AR15
    I hate it when they think that all addicts are spongers i have had a 10 year herion and pain killer addiction and worked all of that time im also on methadone which iv paid for 7 years im also a tax payer at least they are trying to help us
  9. Fentiful
    While I think the article and journalism was lacking in methodology, statistics, reputable sources etc. I think it does shed light on one of many problems that needs to be addressed, and ideally worked on towards a better long term solution.

    Even on this forum people are stating that they are mixing their methadone treatment with heroin and other substances. Obviously the treatment is not working for them and it shouldn't be a blanket approach, or the most readily accessible, and funded treatment option available.

    Here in the U.S people are considered very fortunate if they can afford to go to a suboxone doctor, the cost is astronomical, never mind the waiting list, and in many instances the search and drive to find one.

    I think one of the points the users in the story were making is they were simply handing a substitution of another very addictive, potentially dangerous substitute with no recovery options such as counseling, education, job skills training etc. Addiction is a multi-faceted problem and the cookie cutter options have proven to not be effective.

    I'm not saying methadone or suboxone doesn't have it's place, but for 5, 10, 15 yrs, especially being mixed with the very drug it's supposed to help with? How much is that costing, why couldn't some of that money be put into building more rehabs, skills training, youth centers and programs. What about paying better for quality workers? Isn't it conceivable that those institutions would serve the public better all the way around and work better as a long term solution?

    If the point of the article was to get people thinking and talking about possible better solutions, and to expose that methadone therapy isn't very effective as a sole and long term solution for treating addiction then I think it has done it's job. If taking points from the horse's mouth isn't valid and have a place then I don't know what is......
  10. mersann
    Maybe it is the case that this kind of treatment does not work for many people. However, the article makes no notice of the large number of people who it worked for whatsoever. Trying to shed some light on the problems with an approach is absolutely fine with me (and noticing problems such as lack of support besides giving out Methadone) and may actually constructive criticism, but there are plenty of stories around on this forum where people successfully managed to get off Heroin with the help of Methadone, and not noticing the fact that there are people who manage that, is respectless in my opinion.

    Articles that do not mention the existing positives and the many successful cases of the approach just create/reinforce bad ideas about Methadone treatment and about drug (ab-)users in general. It is not that I'm against the topic being mentioned, but very much the one-sided way in which it is done, which might result in an uninformed person thinking:"Why not do away with this 'treatment' then? Why continue to spend millions on that programme?" when it helps plenty of people getting control of their addiction and maybe being able to lead a "regular" life again.
  11. source
    Anti-drugs campaigner blasts Government's methadone programme - bordering on criminal

    [imgl=white]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=27834&stc=1&d=1346104604[/imgl]ONE of Scotland’s leading anti-drugs campaigners says the Government’s methadone programme is “bordering on criminal”.
    Maxie Richards runs a *foundation for recovering addicts and has opposed use of the heroin substitute for more than 20 years.

    She said: “You don’t treat a drug addict by giving them more drugs.

    “When I researched the drug, my fears were confirmed. I think it is bordering on criminal that the Government have been giving it out to people on a huge scale for so long. This is a drug that kills, yet the NHS are giving it to very vulnerable, ill people who come to them for help.

    “It was always clear to me that a lot of people were going to die if they took methadone. Now we are seeing that happen in ever increasing numbers.”

    Maxie runs a rehab centre from her home in Bearsden, near Glasgow. She also runs a home for recovered addicts in remote Tighnabruaich, Argyll.

    The 75-year-old mum-of-three added: “The key to helping people recover is to make them feel valued. There isn’t a magic spell, you just have to make people feel like they are wanted and have a life worth living.

    “At the moment you have a strategy called the Road To Recovery that accepts *methadone as a big part of the solution to drug addiction.

    “To me it represents a hopeless road, a road to nowhere.

    “I fully support the Record’s campaign to have the Scottish Government review the *methadone programme.

    “I think it is such a waste to let young people spend years on methadone because we
    don’t think there’s any hope for them.”

    By John Ferguson, 27th August 2012, Scottish Daily Record
  12. coolhandluke
    i wish they would bring up the AWFUL record of traditional drug rehabilitation and the price tag that comes with it. the first rehab i went to was around a thousand dollars per day, and the relapse rate was something like 8 out of ten, the second was in a state mental institute and was court ordered so my insurance didn't come into that equation, but i was told that costed 500 a day, for three months.

    its very easy for a "journalist" to do drive by attacks on subjects but coming up with the answer to the question takes a real writer, and lots of time.

    this article would be rejected by most people with a bit of intelligence, some heroin user is not a reliable source to me, all they will do is lie through their teeth to blame their addiction on others, ive seen is at the methadone clinic i go to. when someone fucks up for years and is discharged its always because of a single dirty UA for thc, or some methadone clinic gossip, meanwhile if you look at them they half way into a nod.
  13. constant limbo
    imo you raise some great points mate

    imo methadone keeps a cap on the crime rate,our jails are over flowing as it is,if they stoped giving out methadone,imo the crime rate would soar to previously unseen heights...!!

    bottom line is...

    it's much much cheaper to give out methadone,than it is to keep a prisoner in jail

    re benifits
    being realistic,if they stopped benifits for giving a positive sample,then again crime would soar

    re current newspaper methadone storys
    this is all to do with politic's and trying to win elections,it's a pity they're using people with addictions as a political football

    if you balance what methadone acheives against,the implications of stopping it,then imo it's a no brainer,the programme needs to continue,or.....

    they need to start giving out heroin maintanence scripts,where users have access to medical grade diamorphine

    if you stop addicts methadone,benifits,etc then they will do what ever it takes to fund their addiction

    just my tuppence worth

    cheers,constant limbo
  14. Milkindaturkey
    What????? Your mind wondering off......you sure put a whole lotta thought behind that man his beer where he may have drank it and to the logistics of public and private property!
  15. Cash.Nexus
    Re: Anti-drugs campaigner blasts Government's methadone programme - bordering on crim

    OMG Mad Maxie...I hadn't noticed this before. I know people who have, out of desperation, entered her 'rehab centre'. She is completely unqualified AFAIK. She opposes methadone, but gives dihydrocodeine which she gets from a 'sympathetic doctor.' One girl I knew well was given too much on her first day and was sick.

    Christianity is a big element of her program. She makes residents come to church with her. If you don't follow her program, get out (granted, same in any rehab.)

    She has her supporters and I'm sure she has 'saved' people. But she's demented IMO. She looks it too. Typical the Record would welcome her views in this awful anti-methadone tirade.
  16. HarmRedThera
    Both of the articles in this thread are awful. They completely miss the point and misrepresent the methadone program, addiction, and recovery to unsavvy readers. I will have to admit that I'm from the US, and am not entirely familiar with the NHS policy or the relative availability or funding of other programs for addiction, but I am an addiction professional and familiar with the field itself.

    Methadone replacement is not a "cure" for addiction. It never was and never will be. Anyone who thinks it is would be grossly misinformed. It is, however, harm reduction. Methadone replacement (or more accurately, maintenance) is designed to avoid the problems associated with opiate addicts' NOT having opiates. It does that well. Anyone unfamiliar with opiate addiction may wonder why it makes sense to give addicts more opiates on a regular basis. It avoids the problems of the addicts getting seriously ill and losing functional ability due to withdrawal, crime related to the biological need to acquire more opiates, large scale revenue streams to unregulated dealers, crime related to the illicit procurement networks for opiates, and to some extent the health risks directly related to IV opiate use. It brings addicts much more into the mainstream of society to be able to acquire their drugs in a pharmacy for a very insignificant amount of money. I literally spend more on one of my drugs of choice--coffee--than they do for methadone.

    I see red when I hear that the pharmacists are supposed to somehow "cure" peoples' addiction. Like someone earlier posted, it would be ridiculous for the needle exchange to forbid methadone users from exchanging needles. I also don't see too many bars or liquor stores being forced to provide alcoholics recovery services. Pharmacies don't provide psychotherapy when you buy antidepressants, nutrition management when you buy antihypertensives or cholesterol-lowering drugs, or a relaxing head massage when you pick up some NSAIDs.

    I also am skeptical that the UK doesn't have rehab and recovery services available. Maybe there's a shortage? I don't know, but there is everywhere. Methadone maintenance is also a really cheap way to help with the overall problem--definitely cheaper than jails. It's also cheaper than rehab, but the two aren't mutually exclusive. In reality, they work in tandem to address the entirety of the problem. Here in the US, we have more rehab than we have drug replacement, but some of it is the same questionable quality and religious mandate as the ones run by Maxie Richards. Consequently, we have little answer for the majority of addicts who are not interested currently in quitting, and huge rates of homelessness, crime, and incarceration. Maybe this is a policy issue with the NHS, but then the article would have to suck less if it were trying to make this clear.

    We also have some of our states experimenting with drug-testing people on public assistance. In the few terrible states (like Florida) that have tried this ended up increasing the state's direct costs, with no data on how bad the indirect costs might be. One of the main criticisms in general about it is that even if you're hell-bent on punishing addicts, it will be more harmful to any children of those addicts.
  17. Space Numpty
    Just want to clarify a bit on UK prescription policy for you Americans.

    Regardless of the item, there is a standard charge of £7.85 from the pharmacy, no more. Most people who pick up a script will likely be on benefits where they don't have to pay anyway. If they do have to pay they can buy a pre-paid prescription card that costs £29.10 and covers you for 3 months.

    There are some silly principles regarding the use of Methadone. For starters its one of the few opioids where the WD is so severe is can cause siezure and kill. Just as many, infact slightly more people, die each year from Methadone use than from Heroin use in the UK.

    From a harm reduction point of view you are actually replacing Heroin with something that it potentially more dangerous. That strikes me as silly. I'm an advocate of stabilising someone on Diacetylmorphine therapy and then working on the root causes of their usage. In order to stay on the programme there would have to be "KPI's" you'd adhere to, to work towards reduction and wellness, but each individual case would have to be taken as that...the case of an individual....no forced reduction. In the UK we have let many many ex-users down by putting them on Methadone and leaving them to their devices for 20 years. That needs to change.

    That said, if people die because they use Heroin on top, thats their lookout. Regardless of the opiate/opioid involved, if people choose to play with fire theres not a lot we can do about that. If Methadone therapy was replaced by Diacetylmorphine therapy, people will still die if they take too much. The responsibility of that has to fall on their shoulders.

    And lets face it. You stand outside a methadone clinic with a microphone and you're gonna hear complaints all day long. Thats what junkies do ;)
  18. HarmRedThera
    I definitely agree with Space's views on methadone not being the greatest replacement therapy. Now that Illinois medicaid pays for Suboxone/Subutek therapy, we've had much more success in people being able to use that treatment longer and remain engaged in services. The problem is that our managed care system places lots of obstacles to continued use of buprenorphine since it's so expensive still. Our clients who use it instead of heroin or methadone sometimes end up withdrawing because the state gets backlogged with approving the physician recommendations that are required every 90 days. Naturally, instead of continuing to suffer withdrawals, several of them relapse despite having done everything asked of them by our program and the state. I get really pissed when bureaucracy interferes with the recovery and wellbeing of our clients.
  19. gah1212
    looks like to me it is a big problem! the Government will make money off an addict someone that needs better help. they see there is a drug problem so why not open up a place where they can get into a treatment program? yes, some will be hard headed but I believe most will get the help so just maybe they can get clean. it is hard on a addict once you have a addiction. I have seen it from both sides. so I can say if they get the right type f help they can kick it. it must be rules to follow and if you abide by the rules then fine if not you weren't ready to get off in the first place. I hope one day it will be a better place and everyone that is struggling with the addiction will be clean and free. Peace to you all
  20. gah1212
    I do not think so. if you refuse them needles agivind they use each other's it would be a greater risk of diseases (aids) going around that's why you see the needle exchange. why not drug test them and if they have any other drug except methadone in there system, do not get there meth for that day! you sometimes only need to wake a person up and let them know their is rules too follow if you want your methadone.n
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