Record number of Scottish addicts23rd July 2007
Figures released by the Scottish government show that a record number of people are being treated for heroin addiction.
The government report shows that around 21,000 people in Scotland currently rely on the heroin substitute methadone, with 10,500 addicts taking methadone under daily supervision. 7,000 people taking methadone are responsible for children under the age of 16.
The government ordered a review following the death of Derek Doran, a two-year-old who died after consuming methadone he found at home.
Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing has said the government will implement improvements in order to help users to stop using methadone.
He said that methadone played an "important" role in combating heroin addiction and had "well-established" benefits.
"Experts have concluded that it is entirely appropriate for methadone to be the major element of the treatment available for opiate dependency."
"The report makes clear that there are, however, areas of concern about the use of methadone. Tackling those areas is a key priority for us."
Mr Ewing said that improvements needed to be made in order to ensure people recovered from their addiction.
Scotland's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Harry Burns, said methadone offered users the key benefit of not having to inject themselves and run the risk of diseases such as Hepatitis C.
Labour justice spokeswoman Margaret Curran said she expected the SNP executive to examine the reports and put forward an appropriate strategy.
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Title: Record number of Scottish addicts
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 3540
Date Added: 23rd Jul 2007