Clinton administration official Gen. Barry McCaffrey publicly criticizes New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for waging a war against methadone programs that help New Yorkers recover from heroine addiction.
Giuliani is campaigning to end all methadone programs in the city despite most scientists and medical professionals agreeing that methadone is not just an effective treatment, but that it’s the most effective treatment the medical community has ever seen. Recovering addicts around the nation are getting off the streets and re-entering the workforce thanks to methadone.
McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general and current director of drug policy for the Clinton administration, says Giuliani’s efforts, if successful, would put Americans “freed from the slavery of addiction… back on the streets, back on drugs and back on welfare.” He does not accuse Giuliani of trying to help the illegal drug business in New York, but that appears to be what the mayor is doing.
The Mayor said on Monday that he wanted to do away with methadone programs in New York City within four years and make heroin addicts embrace the ”moral” alternative of total abstinence. In reality, experts say, the Mayor can do little about the city’s methadone programs because they are mostly financed with Federal and state dollars. But methadone’s proponents fear that his criticism could prejudice people against the medication.The New York Times
Giuliani’s press office tells reporters that he is being advised by New York City health officials and leaders of various drug treatment programs, but they can’t or won’t name a single adviser.
New York City is home to an estimated 34,000 recovering addicts in methadone programs and 250,000 heroin addicts, some of whom have taken issue with extremely long wait times to begin receiving treatment.
In a statement issued by his White House office, General McCaffrey did credit the Mayor with making New York City a safer, cleaner and more orderly community and with supporting the national strategy to control illegal drugs. ”But his recent statements about methadone therapy are at odds with the conclusions of the nation’s scientific and medical community,” the general’s statement said. ”The problem isn’t that there are too many methadone programs; it is that there are too few.”The New York Times