Lord Mayor learns that methadone is about harm reduction rather than recovery! As Con Houlihan says – “Read on”

Mayor warns methadone is ‘not the cure’

Ray Cullen
Lord Mayor Gerry Breen
By Cormac Murphy
Tuesday November 02 2010
DUBLIN’S Lord Mayor has questioned the practice of using methadone to treat heroin addicts.
Lord Mayor Gerry Breen, who has visited a series of drug clinics in recent weeks, said long-term use of the heroin substitute is not a solution.

The mayor has been to a number of clinics since commenting in September that a city centre methadone clinic should be shut down and moved to outlying areas.
He does not agree with addicts having to travel to the inner city to access the drug.
Mr Breen said the view expressed to him was that the current treatment policy is about “harm reduction” rather than “recovery”.
“People are on methadone for months and years rather than a short period,” the FG councillor told the Herald.
He said he is considering organising a conference in the Mansion House to come up with alternatives to the “present drug regime”.
“I realise it’s a very complex issue. The view is that it (methadone policy) is doctor-led. It might not be the best solution. Many are of the view that it’s the easy way out,” Mr Breen said.
He said he makes “no apologies” for saying drug clinics should be moved out of the city centre.
Speaking previously, Mr Breen said he did not think addicts should be “in our prime tourist and shopping areas”.
“There is a perceived threat to safety. There are parts of the northside that are very hard to walk without encountering people with a drug problem or begging,” the Lord Mayor said.
“The tens of thousands of people working in shops and businesses are also being impacted by them,” he added.
He said one option was to shut down the city-centre methadone clinic and have local suburban pharmacies dispense maintenance drugs.
However, Mr Breen was criticised in some quarters for the remarks, including from within his own party.
Fine Gael councillor Bill Tormey said: “Methadone prevents crime and not the opposite. Addicts are easy targets.”
– Cormac Murphy

Commentary – I am on a different planet to the Lord Mayor in the area of addiction services, support for addicts and harm deduction. I have said and written much on this subject for years. People may recoil at the physical appearance of drug-affected adults wandering around the streets of the city. But they are citizens just the same as me. There are consequences of NIMBism in the suburbs – social problems are hidden as far out of sight as possible and exported into the city centre if possible. If addicts are bothering people then a gentle word from the boys and girls in blue under the Public Order Act should be an initial step. I support the clinics and the current policy here. There is a slide show on the treatment activities on this website. Merchant’s Quay is a prototype. I would never fail to support Tony Geoghegan. Read John Lonergan’s autobiography on the impact of this on prisons and prisoners.