The entries below are our accounts of documents collected by Drug and Alcohol Findings as relevant to improving outcomes from drug or alcohol interventions in the UK. The original documents were not published by Findings; click on the Titles to obtain copies. Free reprints may also be available from the authors. If displayed, click prepared e-mail to adapt the pre-prepared e-mail message or compose your own message. The Summary is intended to convey the findings and views expressed in the document. Below may be a commentary from Drug and Alcohol Findings.
All the entries in this bulletin focus on medications which substitute for heroin and in particular methadone, in Britain and internationally the most widely prescribed, a long-acting drug taken by mouth which promises to stabilise the roller-coaster of heroin injection and enable addicts to get on with their lives. In Britain an expert group has addressed head on the criticism that methadone substitution means giving up on recovery for too many patients. In its favour above all is the compelling mantra that dead people cannot recover; methadone saves lives, giving patients a chance to overcome their problems. That is why the assertion that methadone itself risks death through heart attack is potentially so damaging and so controversial. Is the risk real enough to enforce cautionary measures which curtail methadone treatment and might themselves cost lives? A US expert panel changed its mind and British and US studies suggest the risk is very small.