Jim Nintzel screwed up again! Well, he does have a point in criticizing Clean Elections and locked-in increases in school spending and health care; those were very bad ideas ("You Screwed Up!" May 28). But voter-imposed term limits and making tax increases harder both provide healthy protections for Arizona homeowners.
Although Nintzel probably won't approve, and teachers' unions and bureaucrats will be apoplectic, Arizona citizens may soon have an opportunity to really limit homeowner property taxes. Check out www.Prop13Arizona.com.
Thanks to Gretchen Nielsen for her Guest Commentary (June 4) on the amazing life of longtime peace activist Betty Schroeder. With our government still doing its damnedest to sell us endless war, the folks who aren't buying it may be inspired by Betty's story to take "immediate nonviolent action" for peace.
Despite scant media attention, there are opportunities to do so in many parts of Tucson. Since 2003, there has been a demonstration every Wednesday from 8 to 9 a.m. at the military recruiting office at Speedway Boulevard and Wilson Avenue, site of the Raging Grannies' 2005 arrest. Peace protesters have been gathering downtown at the federal building for more than 20 years. The vigil takes place every Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. Women in Black hold a vigil at Speedway and Euclid Avenue every Friday, also from 5 to 6 p.m. Information is available at any of these events about scheduled monthly protests at Raytheon and the gates of Davis-Monthan. Information about other events may be found at peacecalendar.org.
Peace activism may go in and out of vogue, but dedicated people like Betty Schroeder and Gretchen Nielsen make sure that it never goes away.
We would like to thank Jodi Franklin for bringing the subject of methadone clinics to the public eye ("Clinical Addiction," Currents, May 14). It is difficult for patients and their loved ones to deal with the disease of opioid addiction.
We must respond to some of the comments about addiction, methadone and opioid-addiction-treatment centers in order to better inform the public. Many patients afflicted with opioid dependence feel guilty about their treatment or fear that their loved ones won't understand. Hopefully, clearing up some of these myths and misinformation will help people with opioid dependence seek the treatment they need and support they deserve.
Methadone is used in medically assisted detoxification or treatment maintenance for persons with opioid addiction. Methadone is an opiate, so it can be addictive. But methadone is a long-acting opiate that allows a person to function free of withdrawal and, carefully administered, is an effective treatment option. When someone is stable on methadone, they will not experience the highs of short-acting opiates and won't experience the lows or physiological withdrawal. The patient can then concentrate on regaining a healthy life rather than thinking about or having to get their next "fix." Research has shown that methadone treatment is the gold standard for opioid addiction. It is allowed to be dispended at specially licensed and regulated clinics, because it lessens the spread of communicable diseases, decreases crime, and increases stable employment, parenting and school performance.
Because methadone is addictive, federal guidelines are very strict about who is eligible to enter a methadone-maintenance program, and how these programs run. Other treatment options may be more appropriate for a patient who has not been addicted for at least a year and/or has not relapsed.
Methadone clinics may appear to be a ball and chain for some patients, but if clinics follow all the guidelines that have been put in place to best help patients recover from addiction, it is an affordable and effective treatment option. It has been shown that daily attendance at a clinic during the early stages of recovery helps the patient develop a routine, and daily monitoring allows staff to help the patient stop using illicit opioids and prevent relapse, or at least catch it early. A patient earns privileges (extra takeout bottles) when their urine screens are free of illicit drugs. As they progress in treatment, they meet other criteria for stability and are allowed more privileges requiring less time spent at the clinic.
Methadone programs may vary, so it is appropriate to ask questions to see if you are comfortable with the treatment available at each individual clinic. Clinics should offer counseling as frequently as necessary to achieve abstinence. Ask the clinic about their policy for titrating methadone until a patient is stable, and tapering a patient off of methadone. If done correctly, it is highly successful and free of uncomfortable and serious withdrawal symptoms. Long-term methadone treatment may be the appropriate and effective option for certain patients who hope to avoid relapse, but for many patients, short-term treatment (up to a year) along with counseling, relapse prevention and long-term group support is effective.
There are many successful patients who have struggled with opioid addiction who have successfully completed programs and are quietly living happy, healthy lives.
Dr. Larry G. Onate and the ETANO Center staff