9th November 11, 2012


Focus should be on addicts committed to recovery


Local MSP Duncan McNeil has called for more support to be given to people who are committed to coming off drugs.


Speaking in a debate on Scotland’s drug strategy in parliament yesterday the MSP said that there are some drug users who are simply not interested in stopping because they enjoy the lifestyle.


The Greenock and Inverclyde MSP argued that these users are taking up resource which could be focused on those who want to stop as well as the families who lives can be devastated by drug misuse.


He also raised his concerns that about the methadone programme and that many are being parked on the drug for years without any change in their behaviour and said that their commitment to the programme needs to be tested.


The drug strategy debate came on the back of the record number of deaths that were recorded in Scotland last year, around half of which involved methadone.


In 2011 there were 584 deaths, up 20% on 2010 and up 76 per cent on 2001. In Inverclyde there were 20 drugs deaths and methadone was implicated in over fifty percent of these.


Speaking in the debate he said:


“We must recognise that not all the 60,000 drug users in Scotland are recoverable. That is a horrible and hard thing to say, but some people take drugs because they enjoy them. They are in a particular age group, and will continue to take drugs and the top-up of methadone. That is the tragic reality. We also need to face up to the fact that some grandparents, who have been mentioned, have been heroin users for many years. They now take drugs just to feel normal—not to socialise or to have a party, but just to feel normal. It is unlikely that we will move those people on, so some radical strategies probably need to be applied to that group. They are not interested in or committed to recovery and are expending or soaking up money that could be used to support those who are committed to the programme. We cannot ignore that. That is one of the issues that we need to face up to”.


“We need to test people’s commitment. People who are on the methadone programme should be tested regularly for topping up in order to identify their commitment, keep them safe and ensure that they are complying with the programme. If they are not complying and are not committed to recovery, appropriate action needs to be taken. If they are not committed to the programme, we cannot extend our commitment. The precious resources need to be shifted to ensure that those who are committed to recovery get the best treatment to ensure the best opportunity for recovery”.