Methadone: A Flicker Of Light In The Dark

Methadone: A Flicker Of Light In The Dark

To provide a better understanding of the very important role methadone plays in the treatment of addiction.
 
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 METHADONE MADNESS STRIKES article and comment from MMT pt

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lilgirllost
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PostSubject: METHADONE MADNESS STRIKES article and comment from MMT pt   Tue May 03, 2011 1:55 pm

Not sure if this is really an article or if it would be considered a "Thought for the Day" lol. It's from the London Free Press and it is a letter to the editor that a methadone patient wrote in response to an article that was not positive about methadone treatment. I thought it was a very good letter and wanted to share it with you guys.

I will post the orginal article first and then follow it with the letter to the editor. The original article was titled METHADONE MADNESS and the original link to it is:


][url=http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2011/04/19/18042451.html]

the original link to the letter to the editor is
][url=http://www.lfpress.com/comment/2011/04/27/18075156.html]

I also left the email address for the writer in case anyone else wants to give him a talking to as well. I find the article really distasteful!

Methadone madness strikes


By Randy Richmond The London Free Press



Last Updated: April 20, 2011 7:52am

Lock up your children and hide your jewelry!

The meth clinic is coming! The meth clinic is coming!

Drug addicts, dealers, hookers, thieves and the homeless will surely follow.

Calls of alarm from worried Londoners are coming in regularly to The Free Press — and they all have the same warning: There’s a methadone clinic going in (pick a spot), and it’s bad news.

Despite a temporary control bylaw put in place last November, it’s beginning to look like methadone clinics have joined high rises, homeless shelters, welfare offices and group homes as a rallying cry in a NIMBY (not in my backyard) culture.

“It is a NIMBY issue,” said David Kelly, executive director of the Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs.

“Addicts live in every community. They are your neighbours. Would you rather they not receive treatment?”

In the past week alone, The Free Press has received tips about three methadone clinics going up in the city’s east end or core.

The most substantial rumour involved property at 519 York St. at William St. City hall is handling an application from a developer to rezone the land to allow, among other uses, clinics.

That was enough to get some residents riled.

With a tinge of a sigh in his voice, planning consultant Richard Zelinka put those fears to rest. The owner wants to put medical offices, not a methadone clinic, on the site, he said.

The other tips — one about a site on Adelaide, and another on Sandford St. — have also been discounted.

Much of the fear centres on the experience of residents, merchants and others near Clinic 528, a large methadone clinic on Dundas St. that serves about 850 people addicted to opiates, and draws a fair number of street people outside its doors each day.

Concerns over that clinic, and any like it, prompted the city to slap a one-year freeze last fall on methadone-dispensing centres.

The planning department at first proposed simply developing guidelines that would identify where clinics should go and why.

But at a Nov. 8 planning meeting, Sarah Merritt, manager of the Old East Village BIA, expressed concerns about methadone clinics.

Her concerns and the worries of others prompted planners to ask politicians for a moratorium, said city planning head John Fleming.

But it’s not a case of NIMBYism, he said.

“I think there are substantial issues that need to be considered. I don’t see this is an emotional or reactionary issue. I see it as a planning issue.”

Those who work with addicts don’t see it quite the same way. Addicts and their addictions inspire a wide range of emotions in society, from fear and disgust to outright anger.

Addicts are considered weak at best and evil at worst.

Critics charge the clinics that treat addicts attract an entire street entourage, from dealers to pimps, and leave behind needles, bottles and other garbage.

The comments from politicians discussing the interim bylaw in November were telling.
“(The addicts) are the ones who decided to go on the stuff in the first place, The rest of us shouldn’t suffer from it,” said east end Coun. Stephen Orser.

Battles over where the already-stigmatized addicts can get help makes things worse, Kelly said.

“It makes it more difficult to access services that would make a difference.”

Kelly expressed surprise when told London had put a freeze on clinics for a year.
“I am disappointed politicians would use a bylaw to further the marginalization of people who are looking to get help. Methadone clinics absolutely make a difference in a community that is facing challenges from opiate drug use.”

Fleming points out the bylaw is only temporary and would be extended only if staff hasn’t prepared official planning guidelines by November, he said.

Fleming is giving the city’s built and natural heritage committee a progress report Wednesday on efforts to get a handle on the issue.

The progress report reiterates the need for clinics, but also reinforces limits on their locations.

The interim bylaw prompted Ontario’s largest operator of methadone clinics, Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres, to take legal action.

The company hired London lawyer Allan Patton to fight the temporary ban, in an effort to open a clinic on Bathurst St.

The Bathurst St. proposal sparked the usual outcry and prompted two local investors to buy the property out from under the treatment centre.

Patton won’t say much about the appeal of the interim bylaw, except to advise that the Ontario Municipal Board has scheduled a hearing for June 6 in London.

“I would not have appealed the interim control bylaw unless I felt it has a strong chance of success,” Patton said.

If nothing else, the bylaw has created some breathing space for those involved in the establishment and defence of clinics.

In November, Michelle Hurtubise, executive director of the London Intercommunity Health Centre, publicly expressed her fear about the interim bylaw and attempts to restrict the locations of clinics and dispensaries.

But she’s been impressed by city staff’s effort since to listen to addiction and health-care workers about the issue.

It’s time for some honest talk to dispel the myths and the reality about methadone clinics, Hurtubise said.

Fears of streets strewn with needles and addicts buying and selling drugs beside a methadone centre are ridiculous, she said.

However, there’s no doubt larger clinics can attract people whose behaviour offends others.

“Outside of Clinic 528 there can be a group of people who are loud and boisterous. That is disconcerting to some people.” Hurtubise said.

No bylaw will solve behaviour, but perhaps design guidelines will prevent the kind of large crowds that gather outside Clinic 528, she said.

“We do have a high level of opiate users in London. We need to find a balance.

METHADONE 101

What it is: A synthetic opioid used to treat pain and addictions to narcotics, such as heroin and oxycodone-based painkillers.

In a treatment plan that includes counselling and other support, methadone can help people wean off narcotics.

For that reason, methadone treatment is credited with reducing the illnesses and crimes associated with drug use.

According to a city report, there are about 1,400 methadone clients in London.

Methadone clinic:


  • Provides methadone and counselling.
  • Methadone usually taken on site.
  • Estimated two to four methadone maintenance treatment clinics in London.



Methadone dispensaries and pharmacies:

  • Usually a lower volume of clients.
  • Methadone often taken home.
  • More than 20 pharmacies in London dispense methadone.



WHAT OTHER CITIES DO

Surrey, B.C.: Ban on new clinics in core, limited to hospital areas
Ottawa: Limit number per area
Vancouver: Ensure pharmacies have enough waiting areas to avoid outdoor lineups
Source: City of London staff report

WHAT THEY SAID:
“There is a lot of fear . , , of individuals who are homeless or addicted. Some of it is based on mythology. There are also valid concerns (about clinics). I think some of the concerns can be be addressed.”
Michelle Hurtubise, executive director London Intercommunity Health Centre.

“Where they should be located, the designs, we are looking at all these elements.”
John Fleming, city planner

“To say we don’t want addicts in our community . . . it is false. They live in our community. You pass by them every day.”
David Kelly, executive director of Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs.

E-mail randy.richmond@sunmedia.ca, or follow RandyRatlfpress on Twitter.

HERE IS THE LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

I am a 24-year-old client of the Clinic 528 methadone clinic on Dundas St. As a recovering addict and a methadone user, I felt incredibly insulted by the article Meth Madness (April 20), not to mention disappointed at the amount of ignorance this city has surrounding this topic.

If you have never suffered from an addiction, had an addict as a friend or family member, worked with addicts or in any other way been directly affected by the hell that is addiction, you could never understand the anguish, guilt, fear and devastation that comes along with any type of addiction.

To say, as Coun. Stephen Orser does, that "(the addicts) are the ones who decided to go on the stuff in the first place. The rest of us shouldn't suffer from it" is beyond disturbingly ignorant.

No addict chooses to be an addict or decides to inflict themselves with such a devastating disease. However, we can decide to get help and learn to control and hopefully overcome the addiction. Methadone, when used as a part of a recovery program that may include counselling, NA and AA meetings, support groups, and therapy among other things, is a highly successful tool in the battle against addiction.
I know that for myself. Methadone was the missing link in a successful recovery. I had tried many different ways, including a residential rehab, meetings, detox etc., and I could never stay clean for a significant amount of time, until I began the methadone program. I credit the methadone program for helping me begin to rebuild my life and let me get to know myself.

In 2010, I was arrested and charged with multiple counts of theft and attempted fraud. I was the younger of the two women in the "Bonnie and Bonnie" theft of purses in the Cherryhill area.

That time was the lowest and most shameful time of my life. I still cannot believe my need for and addiction to opiates had made me so desperate for them that I became capable of committing such heartless crimes. The shame and guilt I felt, and continue to feel for the pain I caused innocent people, is something that I am working on and that I have to live with.

After pleading guilty to those charges, I became homeless, friendless, lost the support of my family, my reputation, custody of my beautiful little son and the last shred of self-respect I had left.

And I was still addicted to opiates.

Rather than let my situation bring me even further down the desperate road of addiction, I began the methadone program and began to turn my life around.

Methadone allowed me to focus on my recovery without the hurt and the need for opiates. Since starting the program almost a year ago, I now have an apartment, my family back, a beautiful daughter, an amazing relationship with my son (who will soon be back in my custody) and also, my self-respect as a person.

In conclusion, I give all the credit in the world to the methadone program and wish people would look past the stigma and the reputation of the clinic. This clinic has helped so many people gain their lives and their family back, allowed us to be successful, respectable individuals who are fighting the battle of addiction the best we can.

We are not just worthless addicts. We are daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. We are human beings.

Please, if you are not educated on addiction or have not personally been affected by it, don't judge or assume you know what you are talking about. Because chances are, you don't.

Remember that addiction shows no discrimination. It can affect anyone at any time.

Samantha Clark is a London resident.



RuthAnn
aka lilgirllost

We are not bad people trying to become good, we are sick people trying to become well.

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