Methadone situation ‘should never have been allowed’

In response to last week’s letters on the methadone subject, I fully sympathise with the poor person who wrote the first letter and it hit home the point I was making the previous week, that innocent people are suffering as a result of our tolerance to drug use in small communities such as ours. I just find that totally unacceptable.

Regarding the second letter, my knowledge on the subject was questioned, but I did predict in my original letter that there would be some ‘do-gooder’ or sympathiser out there who would stick up for those using methadone. Maybe he or she wants to try justifying their views to the author of the first letter. It also comes as no surprise that the author of the second letter used to work in the health sector, as he or she would no doubt be brainwashed into the ultra-politically correct way of thinking, where acceptance and tolerance are a must.

What that person is actually condoning is that it is quite acceptable for people to take class ‘A’ drugs, which is a criminal offence, and then when they become hooked, society will not only pay for their fix, but will accept and tolerate the consequences of addicts’ behaviour, as well as having sympathy for them. Give me a break, this type of situation should never have been allowed to exist in this country.

I’ll leave you to consider a national newspaper’s view from last Wednesday on the subject, and it didn’t come from a ‘red top’.

“The reliance of methadone on society is a national scandal. It is hugely expensive and doesn’t do any good. Instead of weaning addicts off drugs, the heroin substitute has been responsible, directly or indirectly, for very many deaths in Scotland.

“Moreover, addicts do not turn to methadone alone. Most simply use it as a back-up for other drugs. All we are doing is spending £30million a year providing free drugs. The programme isn’t even managing the problem, which we all know is getting worse.

“Stopping the NHS supply of methadone will not reduce drug abuse by itself, but it will save the taxpayer a great deal of money. The public are sick of successive governments bending over backwards to help keep addicts supplied. More than half-a-million prescriptions for methadone were handed out in Scotland last year, half-a-million too many.”

NAME AND ADDRESS WITHHELD BY REQUEST

REGARDING pharmacy consultation rooms, several years ago, to reflect the health care promotion role of the pharmacist, consultation rooms were made compulsory, in community pharmacies, by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. This was to enable any patient to have a private consultation with their pharmacist, without other customers knowing their business.

The screened private area is invaluable when measuring and fitting hosiery and surgical appliances, giving reassurance about medications, and examinations for minor ailments. Patients have to be questioned and checked and an assessment made as to whether the pharmacist can treat the problem as a minor ailment or whether a referral to the GP is warranted.

Confidentiality and privacy are paramount.

Pharmacists treating minor ailments, in theory, ouught to free up surgergy appointments for more serious matters.

In summary, pharmacy consultation rooms serve a definite purpose for the use by all members of the public, and we also use it for hanging up our coats!

ANNE R. MACKIE

Community pharmacist