26th June 06:11
Methadone Debate Migrates To Suburbs (methadone heroin heart withdrawal)
Methadone Debate Migrates To Suburbs
POSTED: 10:23 a.m. EDT August 18, 2003
UPDATED: 10:37 a.m. EDT August 18, 2003
TOWSON, Md. -- People in Baltimore's suburbs are mobilizing against
methadone clinics, fearing the buildings will attract crime and drugs
to their neighborhoods.
Residents in Elkridge and Columbia's Oakland Mills recently promised
protests if proposed treatment centers open, and the Baltimore County
Council passed legislation last year prohibiting methadone clinics in
But substance abuse experts say demand for treatment will continue to
increase, as suburban heroin use grows.
Nationwide, more than 1,200 clinics distribute methadone, which
relieves withdrawal symptoms for those addicted to heroin or
prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Percocet.
Methadone advocates compare the drug to those used to control high
blood pressure, heart disease and other ailments. They say drug
addicts are no less deserving of medication to treat their condition.
But Wayne Roques of Drug Watch International said encouraging people
to use methadone treats only the physical symptoms of addiction, not
the problems that drive them to drugs.
Maryland, with 43 methadone clinics, ranks among the top 10 states in
the nation, said Robert Lubran, a director at the federal Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Baltimore, with 18
clinics, has the highest concentration of facilities in the state;
Montgomery and Harford counties have four each; Baltimore and Anne
Arundel counties have three each; Howard has one with another
proposed; and Carroll has one.
Heroin is among the top four drugs mentioned by those seeking
treatment in the counties surrounding Baltimore, according to data
from the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of
Maryland. And more people in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and
Howard counties are dying of overdoses -- 140 in 2001, up 47 percent
Experts say that as addiction to heroin spreads from city to suburbs,
treatment has to follow. Only about 20 percent of the more than
102,000 people who need drug treatment in Baltimore's surrounding
counties receive it each year, according to the substance abuse
center. In contrast, 41 percent of the 58,000 addicts in Baltimore are
"We see our kids leaving Howard County, driving to Baltimore, buying
the heroin they need and taking it back," Howard County Police Chief
Wayne Livesay said at a recent community forum.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.