Statistics released from ONS (Office for National Statistics) suggest that Methadone is not a safe a substitute for Heroin as we are lead to believe. Figures from 2011 showed that whilst there was a 25% decrease in individuals dying as a direct result from taking heroin, there was a marked increase of 36.9 % deaths as a result of taking methadone. The decrease in Heroin related deaths was attributed to a Heroin “drought”, as a result more heroin addicts would have been turning to methadone to feed their addiction.
A safe alternative to Heroin?
For years the government has backed methadone as the safe alternative to Heroin, but these statistics suggest otherwise. In my opinion, there is no safe alternative, and the only way to guarantee someone’s safety is not to take either. The total deaths from Methadone in the UK in 2011 were 486, to me that’s 486 deaths too many. What’s more worrying is that despite the drastic rise in methadone related deaths, there was no enquiry as to why or how it can be prevented.
Whilst the government finally seem to be moving towards abstinence based recovery, are they really equipped to facilitate the professional support and treatment needed? My feeling is they are not and that over all their general approach towards solving Britain’s drug problem hasn’t changed nearly enough to have a major impact on the number of active users and the consequential cost to the economy.
Today’s Heroin addicts have an additional choice, they can either get clean, continue to use or swap to a freely prescribed substitute (touted by the NHS as being a safe alternative)
Does Methadone = recovery?
But isn’t this just placing the addict in no man’s land?, where they are neither clean, nor are they using Heroin. Being maintained on a methadone program is equally addictive as heroin, okay so the crime rates fall because they no longer have to commit crime to support their habit, but from a humanistic point of view aren’t they just being numbed and forgotten about. If a substitute to heroin wasn’t available (especially when there is a drought) wouldn’t more heroin addicts be forced into a position where getting clean is a more appealing option. Or just maybe by prescribing so much methadone the government don’t have to invest more money into abstinence based programs and treatment?….just a thought.
Would be interested to hear others points of view and comments on this subject