Meth bill for Leven tops 100k

Methadone figures in Levenmouth
Methadone figures in Levenmouth

A Methil pharmacy administers more methadone prescriptions to addicts than any other chemist in Fife, it has been revealed.

According to national figures compiled by the BBC, Buchanan’s at the Toll Bar handled 1148 ‘scripts’ of the heroin substitute in 2014 - and claimed £35,635 for the service.

Often, because of the inherent chaos surrounding drug addiction, adhering to a reduction programme is tough

John Kennedy, area co-ordinator with Fife’s Drug and Alcohol Project Ltd (DAPL)

Across Levenmouth, the second busiest pharmacy was Boots in Ajax Way, closely followed by Lloyds in Kennoway and then Boots on Leven High Street.

Overall, six Levenmouth pharmacies handled 2723 methadone prescriptions at a cost to the taxpayer of just over £100,000 last year.

In Fife, Kirkcaldy came top for methadone use (3850 prescriptions), followed by Levenmouth, then Dunfermline (1526 prescriptions).

Prof Neil McKeganey, from the Centre for Drug Misuse Research, criticised the use of methadone - which was linked to 13 fatalities in Fife in 2013 - as “a black hole into which people are disappearing”.

However, John Kennedy, area co-ordinator with Fife’s Drug and Alcohol Project Ltd (DAPL), said it was a vital “first tool in the armoury” for clinicians to help stabilise patients, take them away from illicit street drugs and give them a semblance of a normal life.

“I think then the trouble is that often, because of the inherent chaos surrounding drug addiction, adhering to a reduction programme is tough, so people can get ‘parked on’ methadone for a number of years and I know this has been talked about, and will continue to be talked about,” he commented.

“Lots of people and agencies are trying to reduce use but you need patients to be fully compliant with that.”

NHS Fife said its current fee for dispensing a dose of methadone was £1.83 and the fee for supervising a dose of methadone was £1.43.

Dr Frances Elliot, NHS Fife’s medical director, said: “The costs for individual patients are variable due to a number of factors such as the length of time they require the treatment and what stage of treatment the patient is at.”

She added: “Patients may also have it prescribed for other conditions such as chronic pain relief.”