I just finished watching Methadonia, an HBO documentary on heroin/methadone addiction (synopsis). I think that the film was made with the intent to garner sympathy for those on methadone that are held "with liquid handcuffs". When the movie ended any sympathy I had was gone and I was disgusted with every dreg in the movie.
Ok, I just wrote that and then I found this:
"My biggest hope is that they will have a greater empathy for addicts. I think that the plight of the addict is understated. Kicking an addiction can be like climbing Mt. Everest without an oxygen tank and on crutches. The people in Methadonia have been addicted for years to every drug under the sun. But they're still trying to get clean, and I think that's quietly heroic." (Interview with the filmmaker, HBO)
So it was made to create compassion, but the thinking person has to look beyond the sad stories and see the REAL STORY.
For me, the real story was the dissolution of the myth that methadone is used to wean people from their heroin addictions. Some of the people in this film have been on methadone for 27+ years! As of 1999 the cost for maintaining the 20% of heroin addicts that are on Methadone treatment was $58,644,000.00 a year (for the methadone only). Apparently the very long-term use of methadone is quite common and many use it for the rest of their lives. So, either state or federal taxes are not only paying to get someone high indefinitely, but they obviously can't hold a job...so we get to pay for them to live too.
When Methadone was first used to help detox heroin junkies the doses were purposefully low (not above 60 -80 mg), but now people are able to get doses as high as 300mg. We are creating still-addicted, dependant, unproductive zombies. A VERY high percentage of the Methadonians are HIV, HEP C & B positive, yet they continue to procreate. So once again the government's dime is used for the six months of detox for the infant, then more welfare if the parent gets to keep the child (God forbid) or if the child goes into the foster system. There is an estimated $350 million a year spent on Special Education services for children that were born drug addicted.
So we are paying to drug them (and junkies have discovered that methadone mixed with benzodiazepines (psych/seizure meds) often prescribed to them for anxiety (and paid for by you) gives them the same high they were getting from heroin and creating yet another addiction). We are paying for them to live because they can't work because we drugged them. We are paying for them to bring addicted children into this world (and studies show that these children will only have a chance if they are not raised by their biological parents). We are paying to detox their children. Paying to fix the problems the addiction caused in their children and most likely will start the cycle all over again when those children start to use (validating the point that parents who would be the most "desirable candidates" for abortion, don't normally make that choice).
"While the public would never suggest that heart patients should go without medication or that diabetics be denied needed insulin, this same public has not absorbed the science of addiction and the changes in the brain that substances like heroin produce ... We have medications -- methadone and LAAM -- and we need to use them in the same way the medical profession uses other pharmaceuticals to treat disease..." (Director, Center of Substance Abuse Treatment Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1999)
I hate this line of reasoning. Don't equate a disease that someone never chose to have with a "life choice". Insulin improves life and puts back something that is missing. Methadone is a pharmaceutical opiate that *may* be better than heroin, but is still detrimental to health, brain function and productivity.
I am pretty sure New Orleans could be rebuilt above sea level if all this ended. I know that many of you think the "war on Drugs" is a waste of money...but other than the junkie ODing or euthanasia...what is the answer to this?