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Saving lives of drug users with the help of methadone

Around 1% of young adults in UK inject heroin. This is associated with an increased risk of death and illness, mainly as a result of overdose or bloodborne infection, such as HIV and Hepatitis C.Previously, methadone prescription for heroin users was only seen as a short-term treatment that provides a faster route to full recovery and abstinence. A study carried by Edinburgh, Bristol and Cambridge universities has discovered that a prescription of methadone can also reduce the frequency a person injects drugs. However, the overall period of injecting drugs was longer when compared with people not using methadone.The research started with almost 800 injecting drug users in Edinburgh, at the follow-up 571 were still alive.Generally, this opiate substitution treatment reduced the risk of death by 13 per cent each year. Dr Roy Roberston, who led the study at University of Edinburgh, said: "These results confirm that methadone works and works best when prescribed for as long as is needed in what is a chronic condition."┬ŁFunded by the Chief Scientist Office, the study is published in the British Medical Journal (http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/341/jul01_1/c3172)
Aldona Kutkowska

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