Drug Czar Says Expanding Treatment is the Only Way

Drug Czar Says Expanding Treatment is the Only Way
Posted by FoM on April 12, 2000 at 19:07:20 PT
By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press Writer 
Source: Sacramento Bee
White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey, an advocate for methadone therapy, said heroin addicts must be treated the same as people with other diseases.Speaking at the American Methadone Treatment Association's National conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, McCaffrey said the challenge is making effective, science-based treatment for addicts more available.
An estimated one million people nationwide are chronic opiate addicts, but only about 179,000 are in treatment, he said."We are not talking about a rare tropic disease, we're talking about a million of our citizens."Implementation of a national drug policy that addresses heroin addiction in a more mainstream way won't be easy, McCaffrey acknowledges. But methadone treatment is key, he said."It is clear to me that there has to be a package, a system, in the treatment of opiate addiction -- and methadone is an important part of it," he said.Communities across the country have routinely fought methadone clinics in their neighborhoods, claiming they bring with them crime and blight. In Antioch, Calif., a federal judge ruled last month that civil rights law allows a methadone clinic to move into a residential neighborhood despite the city's claim that it would be unsafe.Methadone is a synthetic drug prescribed to blunt the craving for heroin and ease withdrawal symptoms. Many researchers believe it is the best hope for recovering heroin addicts, allowing them to hold down jobs and contribute to society.Methadone is addictive, but only provides a high for the first month or so of use. Addicts drink daily doses of the liquid narcotic.A report released late last year by a panel of scientists convened by the National Institutes of Health said heroin abuse is a treatable disease and urges the expansion of methadone programs.McCaffrey said more resources need to be put behind federal programs, and made the following additional suggestions: Underserved populations like rural communities and mothers should be better targeted; Programs should provide better accessibility to proven treatment, including methadone; insurance companies should do more to treat drug abuse, and the stigma surrounding addiction needs to be removed."We simply have got to mainstream this whole process," he said.More needs to be done at the state level, too, he said. Eight states currently do not offer methadone treatment: Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia.McCaffrey said those states need to change their policies. In response to a question posed by a conference attendee from Vermont, McCaffrey singled out Vermont's Gov. Howard Dean, who has said he fears the legalization of methadone will bring heroin addicts to his state."Oh by the way, governor, heroin abuse is in the state of Vermont," he said.McCaffrey's official title is director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.San Francisco (AP) Published: April 12, 2000Copyright  The Sacramento BeeMethadone Rx - Salon Magazine Archives & Articles On Barry McCaffrey:
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on April 13, 2000 at 03:12:59 PT:
All things to all people
Barry is an excellent chameleon. He learned a lot from his Army days; especially the importance of camouflage. So, whenever he addresses any audience, he tailors his comments specifically for what he believes they want to hear. But his agenda remains the same; making concerned and sympathetic noises, attempting to keep his opposition off balance by seeming to agree to their beliefs, while at the same time continuing to prosecute a vicious war against us. Just remember who he works for; he picked up quite a lot of pointers from his adulterous, lying, cheating, draft-dodging but quick-to-use-military-force boss. Barry and his boss are living proof that you can indeed fool most of the people all of the time. But the statistics are not bearing him out, more and more cops are getting sick of the situation and speaking up against this mess, and more and more voters are end-running their DrugWar hide-bound legislators with referendums. Bit by bit, the top leadership (if it can be called that) are starting to realize they are engaged in a forlorn hope. 
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Comment #1 posted by leaglizeit on April 13, 2000 at 00:03:27 PT
This all sounds good, but...
... the prevailing mentality is still to treat any kind of drug problem as a crime, lock up the poor addict and forget about him/her.If McCaffrey were really so concerned, he would be taking steps to reduce or eliminate prison sentences for drug offenders and divert that money to helping those who really need it.>"Oh by the way, governor, heroin abuse is in the state of Vermont," he said.Another McBizarro gem. Does anyone have any idea what this means???
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