Home > All Posts > Mother Champions Methadone Program For Halton, Ontario Drug Addicts

Mother Champions Methadone Program For Halton, Ontario Drug Addicts

http://www.burlingtonpost.com/news/article/215862

By Stephanie Hounsell

October 29, 2008, Onatrio, Canada     Betty-Lou Kristy wishes there had been help available to her son before he died of a drug overdose at the age of 25.

It wasn’t as if they didn’t try. For years, Kristy and her son, Peter Beattie, tried to find effective help but couldn’t.

It was a mixed drug overdose that killed him – and a part of Kristy.

“There re no words to describe the loss of a child and the journey of grieving that follows – a journey that will be with me for the rest of my life,” said Kristy, pointing to four photos of her son projected onto a screen.

Now, Kristy is taking her sorrow and channeling it in an effort to help others in similar circumstances.

She believes it’s imperative to develop a Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) program in Halton.

“Had this been available for Pete, I know unequivocally that he would be standing before you today,” she said.

Kristy made her presentation to the health and social services committee last week on the heels of a staff recommendation that council support the creation of a Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program for Halton if funding becomes available.

Committee members ended up supporting the recommendation.

 

MMT is a harm reduction treatment in which people addicted to drugs manage their dependency by taking methadone, states a staff report.

“It helps people manage their opiate dependence and stabilize their lives,” the report states, adding it can be lifesaving.

Some of the benefits of MMT include lowering the risk of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C viruses by reducing the frequency of injecting drugs and sharing needles. It also improves physical and mental health and reduces criminal activity, the report states.

But it’s a “harm reduction approach” and not a cure. There are anywhere from 450-900 potential patients in Halton, with 281 regional residents currently registered with such programs outside Halton, the report states.

When Kristy was seeking help for her son – who became addicted to opiate painkillers after they were prescribed for gastro-intestinal flare-ups – the treatment available either didn’t help or made things worse.

The physical withdrawal symptoms made it impossible for him to stop using, she said.

“As Pete spiralled out of control, we both became terrified, I was terrified for him and Pete was fast becoming more terrified of living than dying.”

Kristy’s worst fear came true on December 23, 2001 when her son died.

Following Kristy’s presentation, the committee was addressed by a 28-year-old Oakville resident who said he’s tried unsuccessfully numerous time to quit taking opiates and was then prescribed methadone.

He said he was able to stop all his opiate use one week later.

“My life did a complete 180 and I went from the brink of suicide to a functioning member of society,” he said.

Two years later, a Methadone Maintenance Treatment Community Working Group was formed and came to the conclusion MMT is needed in Halton.

The working group aims to complete a funding proposal for the creation f such a program, which will be submitted to the Mississauga Halton Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

“They’ve done super work,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Bob Nosal. “This has my 100 per cent support.”

Responding to a question from a councilor, Nosal said he thinks the chance of receiving funding from the LHIN is slim.

The item is to go before council today (Wednesday).

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  1. October 30, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    This is truly TRULY wonderful!

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