[Sinn Fein]

20th February 2002

Addicts' recovery threatened

The ongoing dispute between Pharmacists and the government over the proposed deregulation of the industry is threatening the recovery of thousands of former heroin addicts across Dublin, according to Cllr Nicky Kehoe. As part of the dispute pharmacists have decided not to take any more recovering addicts on their methadone programs. Even more worryingly they are now threatening to cut off the methadone supplies to addicts who are already on recovery programmes. Cllr Kehoe, the Sinn Fein representative for Dublin Central, says such a move would have ``catastrophic consequences for thousands of former addicts and their families.''

He said; ``It is imperative that all agencies and parties with influence move to ensure that recovering addicts do not become embroiled in this dispute. Months, even years, of hard work will be undone if recovering addicts are not given access to their regular methadone prescriptions.

``This dispute should never have been allowed to reach this stage. It is now essential that the Minister for Health should intervene personally to ensure that methadone patients are guaranteed their regular treatment, i.e. methadone supplies. I do not think I am overstating the matter when I say this is a matter of life and death for some people.

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