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From a little town….

…that any addict from Mid-Coast Maine KNOWS TOO WELL-New Bedford, MA!

YOUR VIEW: Red tape at methadone clinics | SouthCoastToday.com.

The epidemic of drug addiction plagues the city of New Bedford akin to the manner in which the 10 plagues sent by Moses tortured the belligerent pharaoh, and is no less devastating. Luckily, there is help out there for those who desire it, although receiving treatment is a far cry from the simplicity one might surmise.

In the rare instance you are a drug addict with immensely deep pockets, well, then there is always the exclusive club of the high-priced specializing private-care physician. These elite doctors have a wide range and latitude in the means they elect to treat someone for their addiction.

However, most addicts do not possess the luxury of owning large-sum stock portfolios or bulging-at-the-seam bank accounts. So the vast majority of this often-frowned-upon and even loathed subculture is relegated to utilizing one of the two methadone clinics in either the north or south end of the city.

Equally frustrating to most addicts who legitimately yearn for a chance at a better life are the bureaucracy and red tape associated with these clinics.

In order to obtain a daily dose of methadone, clients must be able to produce a private insurance card, a MassHealth card, or pony up more cash than they likely have to benefit from the services rendered by the treatment center.

While that may not seem to be such a daunting request in and of itself, the stringent policies enacted by these clinics are all too often responsible for a patient’s demise at the program, leading the recovering addict from some odd amount of weeks or months of being drug-free back on the street copping their next fix.

The procurement of drugs, in many cases at least, is not for the longing to get high, but a method to alleviate the physical sickness from being yanked off the methadone cold turkey.

Patients at the clinic who have made great strides in recovery are often reunited with their old demons after being banned from the treatment program for something as trivial as missing three group sessions. Many of those walking the clinical plank, then being submerged back into the deep abyss of drug addiction, are people who have been clean and giving drug-free urine samples, only to show up one day and be told, “You missed counseling one time too many and you are no longer welcome here.”

It also must be understood that most addicts don’t drive a Rolls Royce and are lucky to have a functioning automobile at all. So while many walk, take advantage of public transportation or simply bum rides from a friend, it is both unreasonable and unrealistic at best to assume these down-and-out individuals can make every single appointment every single day.

How, at least from an ethical standpoint, can any director or even staff member merely turn a blind eye to an action they can virtually guarantee will result in an eventual relapse? The logical mind and deductive reasoning would dictate that so long as any member of the clientele has remained drug-free with time sober tucked under their belt, then they should not be given the ultimatum to either cope with an almost unbearable sickness and pain or tuck away a bag of heroin, OxyContin or various other pills up their nose, or tuck a syringe in their arm.

New Bedford has long been recognized as a stronghold of drug addiction. Sooner rather than later, someone is going to have to cut through the copious rolls of red tape that encircle the methadone clinics here in the city. Despite the way some in our society view drug addicts, they are still people — sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, fathers and mothers — and everything in our power must be done to ensure they receive the treatment so many of them want, and prevent them from being shown the door by a faceless bureaucratic entity.

Most children, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, reply with a resounding response like, “a doctor,” or “a lawyer,” or “a firefighter” or some other prestigious career choice. It’s difficult to fathom anyone aspiring to be a junkie.

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