Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.

Schaler, J.A. (1988, April 16). Tools of addiction.
The Washington Post, Letters to the Editor, p. A24.

Howard Silverman and William Rusinko of Maryland's Addictions Services Administration curiously deleted some important information in their argument against giving clean needles to addicts as a way of combating the spread of AIDS by IV drug users [Close to Home, April 10]. They claimed it would be a capitulation of anti-addiction policy.

What they did not mention is that methadone maintenance programs are high on the ASA's agenda. Mr. Silverman, speaking before the Montgomery County Drug Abuse Advisory Council this past January, stated that aside from health and welfare considerations, methadone maintenance programs are cost-effective and crime reductive. These programs allow addicts to become productive members of society, even though they stay addicted to methadone for 14 to 15 years.

In light of the writers' alleged concerns regarding anti-addiction policy, methadone is certainly a much greater tool of addiction than clean needles. We must recognize methadone maintenance programs for what they really are: a legal way of giving addicts the illegal drugs they stubbornly choose to use. Methadone is one of the best arguments against drug prohibition and is ironically being pushed by the state.

Chairman Montgomery County Drug Abuse Advisory Council Silver Spring