The study, by Glasgow University’s Centre for Drug Misuse Research, has shown that the vast majority of addicts on the £6.5m-a-year heroin-replacement programme are still taking illegal drugs years later. According to the study, which followed 695 drug users from 33 addiction centres across Scotland, 97% were still taking methadone or illegal drugs three years after receiving their first dose.
Neil McKeganey, who led the research, has blamed the programme’s failure on the policy in Scotland, which aims to stabilise addicts’ drug use rather than getting them permanently off drugs, as in England. Methadone treatment is supposed to wean addicts off drugs by slowly decreasing the amount prescribed. However, in some cases drug abusers are kept on a steady dose to avoid a return to heroin once the dosage drops.
Bad news. McKeganey has been an outspoken critic of their methadone programs for some time but I’ve never seen any accusation that he’s cooking his numbers. It’s noteworthy that the ir programs appear to be long term detox rather than the U.S. goal methadone maintenance.