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Methadone is exchanging one addiction for another

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Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 12:00 am

The first paragraph says it all ("Methadone: Miracle or Menace?" by Maggie Creamer, Lodi News-Sentinel, Oct. 27). A 49-year-old man says "methadone helped him kick his decades-long heroin habit." As a long time "user," he has traded one addiction for another.

While I was working in the old county jail, heroin addicts were given a 90-day "dry out" for giving a dirty test to their parole agent, since they were on parole mostly for property crimes. When the inmates were asked why they did not apply for free methadone treatment, they usually said because it was much harder to "kick methadone than heroin."

When I was assigned to the county hospital unit in the 1990s, I was asked to escort the county methadone clinic charge nurse when she transported a liter of methadone from the pharmacy to the clinic. When I asked her about the program, she said that if a client failed a drug test they would start the program over. When talking to former inmates, they said that they often cheated by taking heroin with the methadone so they didn't have withdrawals, yet still get high from the heroin.

During my conversation with the charge nurse, she told me that a liter of methadone costs over $5,000. Methadone is a great money-maker for someone, at the taxpayers' expense.

Mike Steward


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