Necessary step

Word that a methadone treatment centre finally opened its doors here yesterday is welcomed news.
Such a centre has its share of critics, who argue the program simply substitutes one drug craving for another. Given the burgeoning number of area residents who have turned to methadone to curb their addiction to opioids over the past year or two, however, access to this treatment option “close to home” clearly is long overdue.
Before, it meant travelling to Kenora or Dryden at least once a month (and as much as four times a month when first starting the program)—a real challenge, in terms of both cost and convenience, for those courageous enough to seek treatment. And no doubt a hassle that likely prevented even more people from making the tough decision to kick their habit.
It’s true that methadone is not the solution to the very real problem of opiate addiction in Rainy River District, but merely one measure to help tackle it. While the goal, of course, is to wean people off drugs like Oxycontin, morphine, heroin, and the like so they are better able to lead productive lives and maintain healthy relationships, the community benefits in the mean time because methadone has been shown to curtail the high-risk and dangerous behaviours typically associated with a full-blown addiction, such as sharing needles with others and stealing in order to pay for their next “hit.”
Having a local office of Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres is a necessary step to help steer us in that direction.
The need for a methadone treatment centre here may be a sad commentary on our times. Then again, burying our heads in the sand certainly isn’t going to solve anything.