The drugs don't work
Waiting lists send addicts back to life of crime
Hard-drug addicts are lapsing into lives of crime and prostitution while waiting up to eight months to access "poorly resourced and overburdened" treatment programmes, experts say. A report from the National Addiction Centre, obtained exclusively by The Press, estimates that crime by opiate addicts awaiting treatment costs the country $286 million a year.
A 12-month course of addiction treatment with methadone costs about $5000. The report estimates that almost 10,000 New Zealanders, including 1429 in Christchurch, are daily dependent on opiates such as heroin, morphine, homebake and opium from poppies. About 4600 addicts are receiving methadone through opioid substitution treatment (OST) programmes, but demand far outweighs the resources available. Waiting lists were a "significant problem" and addicts had "considerable ambivalence" about seeking treatment. Addicts were waiting an average of 90.3 days between their first presentation and their first dose of methadone at New Zealand's 18 treatment centres. In Christchurch, non-priority addicts were waiting 94 days, with a 260-day wait in Otago (with interim methadone prescribing) and no service available on the West Coast because of a lack of resources. Ministry of Health guidelines recommend a four-week wait.
This is jaw droppingly stupid, it only costs $5000 for a years dose of methadone, yet almost half of addicts in NZ are not yet able to get on a programme and are turning to crime at a cost of $286 million a year! If we are serious about making sick people well rather than just sensible sentencing punishment then this situation can’t be defended, and making addicts wait up to 260 days when the recomendation is 4 weeks suggests a system that has no interest in being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, they've become a digger and are only making the drop deeper.