Essay about Methadone Maintenance Treatment

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Opiate addiction is a major individual and public health problem. The intangible cost of broken families, unstable communities, increased crime due to drug seeking behaviors and most importantly increased disease transmission, mean that opiate addiction is a concern for addicted individuals and society. (Methadone, 2010) Heroin addiction and the mode of administration is frightening because people are knowingly engaging in life threatening behavior with the sharing of injection needles, a practice known as “shooting”. Heroin use is often associated with blood borne diseases and infections, due to sharing of needles. The supply of illegal drugs will always rise to meet the demand, regardless of law enforcement efforts and the “emergence …show more content…
People still want to see addicts punished rather than rehabilitated.’ (Sack, 2012) The misunderstanding about a disease concept of addiction is part of the reason why Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) has been met with hesitation by the public. Theodore Dalrymple, a columnist for the Sunday Telegraph, a newspaper serving the United Kingdom explains: “The rationale for substituting methadone for heroin is complex. First it establishes addicts on a regular controlled regime of medication from which it may be possible slowly to withdraw them. Second, it prevents at least some of them from injecting themselves with heroin, which is dangerous and, if needles are shared can lead to infection with the AIDS virus. Third, because it is prescribed free, it reduces the motives for committing crimes.” An even bigger controversial preventative health strategy is needle-exchange programs, in which users of injectable drugs are given sterile needles to help them avoid contracting and transmitting diseases like AIDS and hepatitis. This approach of prevention and treatment is known as harm reduction and “opponents of harm reduction strategies say that such approaches send the wrong moral message and take a too lenient approach to drug use. Harm reduction strategies will worsen the drug problem, they say by taking the attitude that drug use is expected and will be tolerated.” (Public, 1998)

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