Saturday, 27 November 2010

My open letter to the government for a reform of heroin addiction treatment!

This is really rough, im not that great with words, please help me put a better version together! I really think if enough of us send this off, local MP and lets find out the right health minister, could even send it to the PM haha

(Address Etc)

Dear (Insert MP’s name here),
                 I am writing with regards to the current treatment modality of heroin addiction in the UK.
After personally using heroin for 15 years and having utilising the various treatment options currently available believe I have a fair understanding of the issues surrounding opiate addiction and treatment.
In my experience, and invariably of many others, maintenance treatments like methadone and subutex, have their place, but for the majority of addicts just don’t work, one report suggests a success rate of just 4% with methadone!

There are numerous government reports supporting the prescribing of diamorphine for heroin addicts, and the studies and trials that have been done all have much better results regarding health problems and a marked reduction in crimes committed to support habits.

The UK is also in a better position legally than most other countries as doctors here are allowed to prescribe diamorphine for addiction (alebeit with a home office license) this should be exploited as there are hundreds of thousands of heroin addicts in the UK that can see no way out of their situation.

After a recent heroin ‘drought’ in the UK, a lot of addicts are questioning the range of treatments available to us.
Not only is the situation regarding getting into a treatment programme different all over the country, the choices on offer (methadone or subutex maintenance are not suitable for everyone)
For example, some GP’s will prescribe on the same day, but in other areas users will have to join a drug dependency unit and be co-prescribed with a GP, this on average can take six to eight weeks which is just too long, typically when an addict asks for help, they are at ‘rock bottom’ and need it immediately.
In our class culture, if a user can afford it, a lot of private doctors will prescribe morphine, diamorphine or benzodiazepines with no questions asked. How is this fair to the average addict?

I feel (along with many others) we are made to jump through so many hoops it almost isn’t worthwhile. Even if we do what is asked of us we are only going to get a drug which is more addictive than heroin, has more side effects, is a lot harder to detox from and in most cases doesn’t even alleviate 100% withdrawal symptoms and cravings!
I believe it is time the government looks at other options. Methadone and subutex do not work for the majority of addicts. There are plenty of other options out there and we need to stop looking at addiction with a ‘one size fits all’ attitude.
Addiction is obviously a very complex, difficult issue to treat, many of us have deep psychological issues, whether it be from childhood abuse, or pre-existing depression that we discovered was manageable through opiates.
It is proven that opiates alleviate depression. It’s time we were treated with dignity and respect, like any ‘normal’ patient would get.
Currently, your average heroin user is forced to buy on the streets from unscrupulous criminal gangs that will, as standard ‘cut’ heroin with all kinds of adulterants, putting users at risk from poisoning.

Not only would being treated properly with appropriate medication put a stop to health problems associated with injecting/smoking adulterated heroin, there would be a marked drop in drug related crime, prostitution, gang affiliated violence and profiteering.
I believe we need to re-asses the way we currently treat addicts, if users want to use methadone it should be made easier and faster to access, injectable ampoules should be made available to those who want it as needle fixation is a big part of many addicts’ problem.
Injectable diamorphine should be the standards treatment for addicts that inject and for smokers, in tablet form.
A clean supply of these drugs would massively reduce the problems classically associated with heroin addiction.
It would also mean users would be able to lead a relatively ‘normal’ life, get back into employment and attain some level of dignity as the daily routine of getting money, buying drugs would no longer be an issue!
I realise this is a highly controversial issue and will not change overnight but I believe we need to move out of the stone age when it comes to the treatment of addiction

Yours Sincerely

(Name/Or I guess it could be anonymous?)


Sid said...

Click Here To Find Your Local MP


Click Here for our current Ministers Of Health

Anonymous said...

You have put it very well,if only they would listen.My boyfriend had an injectable diamorphine script on the nhs in west london,it was a trial at the chelsea and westminster hospital,but he was ill with hep c .Its very hard to get on and i don't know if its still going.

Sid said...

Yeah, they have done a few trials over the years, I doubt they would start putting people on it now.. I think the price is a factor, although I believe its only around £6 a box? Or maybe each..? Compared with methadone which costs pennies!
Not the point thought really, I'd pay for it

Gledwood said...

yep you got it. I use because I feel anything from flat to suicidal on methadone. Why the fuck they think this poison is any better than heroin really does defy belief. It's all about control ~ supervised consumption. Well how about supervised diamorphine, then after a month or two let us take it home. You'd have to be a genuine nutter to "divert" as they like to put it, diamorph amps!
Injectables aren't the only option, there are morphine pills which are way better than methadone and can be taken 12 hourly.
Government please stop getting hung up on "methadone is best because it can be taken once daily" I take mine in split doses, it works way better that way.
They really really have to do something FAR better for us in treatment, else some will go on shoplifting/prostituting, others will blow all their dole on heroin. Is that a success? Just because you've given up crime but can barely afford a tin of beans. The entire system is corrupt.
Run clinics for the client, not the staff. Then you could dose x2 or x3 a day and get rid of that shitty methadone for once and for all. Yes it might work for some, but I'm thinking about one in 20 IF THAT.
Hope you enjoyed the rant.
I'm going to write my own. IF we can be as factual as possible in our own words we might be taken a little more seriously. A petition form would be wonderful too.
We need to know who EXACTLY to send this stuff too, else it will get passed from person to person to a filing cabinet, or worse, the bin

Sid said...

Cheers Gled,

Re-edit my letter by all means! Its really rough, lets get something up on your blog as it's so busy right now!

There must be health minister responsible for addiction? Ill try and find out

Sid said...

By the way, I always used to have to split dose my methadone, what ever they say it doesnt hold you for 24 hours.. It got really difficult when I was reducing and got down to 10mls.. doing 5 and 5 was just silly!

First opiate I ever took was MST, and loved it! Sure they could prescribe that instead of the old green!

Other countries are much further ahead of us in this respect, im sure Holland have much more progressive treatments for opiate addiction

Anonymous said...

Just want to say Sid, I think your letter is very well presented, and its good that you bring up the issues of social problems related to heroin addiction, you say some things that personally I think would have them listen.

I'd definitely be willing to send a letter like this to my MP or sign a petition...or perhaps both would get the point across even better, plus they would all be inundated with letters, which can only be a good thing.

The only problem is this bastard Tory government...I fear that this government could be the worst thing to happen to people like us, as they seem to think that their view is the only way!!! I think all addicts should go to #10 Downing Street and not only have a mass demonstration, but perhaps a coup could be attempted!{get Labour back!!}

Sorry, my venting is over now...good letter Sid, and respect to you for taking the time to write this out....
Best wishes,

Sid said...

Nice one.. Il get onto a petition tomorrow!

Let me know if you have anything you think should be added to the letter too!

Anonymous said...

Good letter Sid, but a little constructive criticism: some of the grammar needs to be tidied up a bit, and I also believe that this letter is too long, by half. Pls dont take these comments negatively, I just think it needs to be a little more concise so that people who have little or no interest in this subject (ie those it is destined for ((sadly))) would be able to read it quickly and absorb the facts. However a fantastic starting point and a lot more than Ive seen anyone else come up with, during this time. regards

Sid said...

Hey, no worries, that's why I said at the beginning of the letter it needs work, its really rough, id appreciate anyone copy/pasing it and editing... go for it, I thought there would be more interest actually but there obviously isnt!

Anonymous said...

sounds good, only thing is some ppl dont want to come 'out' and give their name to the government or M.P's I'm sure I dont! I agree with all you have wrote and have been following all blogs regarding this matter at such a bad time for us all including Gledwood, I'd love to sign a petition, but we all live a different life behind closed doors not something we need advertised to a government that have proved they cannot be trusted, in these hard times nothing more would I want then to have a script but that would mean admitting on file to all who wants to see that I am a registered User, I was in care so haing my life on file again just couldnt be an option, things change as we all know! How could we go around trying to help but not identifying who we are! For obvious reasons!!?
Nuff Respect
Lemon Squeezy

Lady Anon said...

Hi Sid, great letter. Thanks for taking the time to do it...

Did you see the post on gledwoods comments about the methadone alliance & the government's treatment review....?

Basically we have to be careful not to slate methadone so much that they take it away and replace it!

But I think you balance it well in the letter...btw do you think we should mention other countries that seem to be ahead of the UK in their switzerland etc. Do we need success data? (I love data!)

Or am I getting carried away...!

Also I agree it would be easier to get people to sign it if they didn't have to give their real names etc...this is the problem with heroin...its a secret life for so many people.

I think this may be why there has not been as much interest as expected..and also junkies are forgetful! Keep posting the link every day on Gledwoods site & it may help.

For this to work we need to get people involved that wouldn't otherwise put themselves under scrutiny...How can we do this?

Also...I will try and do a copy & paste 2nd draft tomorrow as have a day off...

...Sorry for enormous a bit excited..


Sid said...

Hey, cool,. yeah good points, I was thinking of putting other countries' success rates with other drugs but couldnt think of any.. maybe I need to research is a bit more, yes some people are really protective over theyre methadone scripts, maybe it should be worded slightly better, but thats why im asking for other peoples input! Go for it with a redraft!
Post it back in comments


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