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Methadone: a treatment that works, but who cares?

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A l c o h o l and o t h e r Dr ugs C o u n c i l of A u s t r a l i a



METHADONE & - ! · * % ■ a treatment that works, but who careT?^ The Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA) today released an ‘issues paper’ examining the use of methadone as a treatment option for opioid dependency. The paper was prepared in response to growing interest and debate about the role of methadone in addressing Australia’s current illicit drug problem. The ADCA paper draws upon Australian and international research literature on the effectiveness of methadone treatment programs.

In releasing the paper, David Crosbie, the Chief Executive Officer of ADCA, said: ‘The available evidence clearly shows that the public provision of methadone maintenance treatment has economic, social and health benefits both for the community and for individuals participating in methadone treatment programs’

Given the evidence presented in the ADCA paper, Mr Crosbie argued, ‘The least we should expect is that all governments will allocate more funding to reduce current waiting lists for methadone treatment, and maintain an active dialogue with treatment workers and methadone users to further develop services that have been proven to be effective in reducing individual and community harm. ’

The release of this new paper comes on the last day of Treatment Works Week - a week of recognition and celebration of the significant achievements Australia has made in addressing drug problems.

Mr Crosbie also suggested the media could play a key role in supporting effective r treatment programs. ‘While so much media coverage o f illicit drug use in Australia is doom and gloom, methadone treatment is a genuine success story which seldom gets portrayed positively in the media - it seems the good news drug stories often attract less interest than the problems they reduce. The lives o f many Australians, not ju s t the 20,000 who are in

treatment, are enhanced by methadone, and it is time the media and the community acknowledged the positive outcomes.’

METHADONE TREATMENT An ADCA Issues Paper discusses a broad range of issues associated with methadone treatment. The paper brings together research on this topic in a way that will be useful to those commentators, journalists, and interested professionals who want to go beyond the predictable ‘Not In My Back

Yard’ or ‘Isn’t this just drug substitution?’ response that is so often published.

Copies of the ADCA Issues Paper are available from ADCA and can be taken from its World Wide Web site at

DAVID CROSBIE Chief Executive Officer 28 June 1998

(02) 6281 0696 (BH) (02) 6258 1516 (AH) 0419 624 420 (Mobile)

First floor, 17 Napier Close, Deakin, ACT 2600 · PO Box 269, Woden, ACT 2606

Phone: (02) 6281 0686 Fax: (02) 6281 0995 Email: Web: ACN: 008 455 525