‘Docs kept me on methadone for 21 years’

A Scottish man has shared his story of how he has been given methadone by doctors for 21 years.

The case has been highlighted as a drug misuse expert has accused the Scottish Government of simply ‘parking’ people on methadone rather than helping them to become drug-free.

Professor Neil McKeganey criticised the ‘Road to Recovery’ drug strategy, blasting it as a “total failure”.

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George Allan was first given methadone to treat his diazepam habit aged 22.

Speaking 21 years later, he said: “I’d love to get off it but I don’t know if it will ever happen. There is never much conversation with doctors about actually getting drug-free.

“People are more interested in keeping you turning up every day to get your [prescription].”


Holyrood’s anti-drug strategy has cost taxpayers £630 million and has been heavily criticised in Scotland.

Professor McKeganey, of the Glasgow-based Centre for Substance Use Research, described the Government’s approach as “a disaster.”

McKeganey added: “What we have in Scotland is an addiction industry that is very well funded, with masses of public money, where organisations have more of an interest in continuing that funding than in showing success in tackling the problem and getting people off drugs.

“There are a few relatively small organisations who handle a lot of money that have nothing but failure to report back with.”

Record high

Figures released last month showed that drug-related deaths reached a record high in Scotland last year.

There were 706 drug-related deaths in 2015, a 15 per cent increase on 2014, when 613 people died.

Methadone along with other opiates or opioids, such as heroin and morphine, have been implicated in the overwhelming majority of these deaths (86 per cent) – more than ever before.

The official statistics were released in a report by the National Records of Scotland investigating drug-related deaths.

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