Letter: Liberty and illusion in the war on drugs

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The Independent Online
Letter: Liberty and illusion in the war on drugs

Sir: Your review of the report Tackling Local Drug Markets ("Trainspotting: the reality", 13 February) highlighted the wide availability of drugs on the streets of London, including methadone.

Methadone has come to be regarded as a cheap and easy option in working with drug users. In parts of London and other areas it is now far easier to get a methadone prescription than access to drug-free treatment.

Deaths from methadone overdose now outstrip those from heroin, and apa's agencies are seeing increasing numbers of clients who have become addicted to methadone purchased on the illegal drugs scene.

Methadone is a palliative measure which does not address the real issues behind the drug use. While accepting that methadone has a role to play, more emphasis must be placed upon the ultimate goal of treatment, which is to motivate and encourage drug users to become abstinent.

PETER MARTIN

Chief Executive, apa Community Drug & Alcohol Initiatives

London EC1

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