Is Scotland Failing to Cope with its Drugs Crisis?

Scotland drug addictsOn the 18th December the Sunday Post published an article about how the NHS in Scotland is failing drug addicts by choosing to treat them with Methadone (many of them for years on end) instead of sending them to rehab.

The article revealed that 277,509 people (five percent of the Scottish population) have been issued Methadone prescriptions in the last 5 years. In the same period only 1349 people were admitted to Scotland’s residential rehab clinics.

The article reports some shocking statistics: 

  • From 2006 – 2011 NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde issued Methadone maintenance to 51,652 patients, yet only funded residential rehab treatment for 712 drug addicts and 326 for drug & alcohol addictions in Glasgow.
  • Ayrshire and Arran health board assigned 10,434 patients to a Methadone programme, with over 100 taking this drug for 14 years, and while sending less than 12 people to rehab.
  • The most shocking statistics came from from NHS Tayside, which, despite having access to four different residential rehabilitation units, admitted less than five patients over the last five years.

£26million a year on Methadone in Scotland

Peter McCann, Chairman of Castle Craig, said: “Methadone is cheaper in the short term but when you add up the cost of prescribing Methadone for years at a time, it’s actually more expensive. The danger with methadone is that once the prescriptions stop, a high percentage of people end up on heroin again… Research has shown that long term methadone use can lead to health problems, such as osteoporosis and cognitive impairment, so there’s more than the cost involved – its peoples’ health too.”

Castle Craig – one of Europe’s leading inpatient addiction clinics – is currently admitting more patients from the Netherlands than from Scotland.

View the full article by Tracey Bryce from The Sunday Post.

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