The prescribed heroin substitute methadone is 'not the answer' for drug addicts in North Wales - that's the warning from the North Wales coroner, Dewi Pritchard-Jones. More than ten people have died from drug overdoses on Anglesey alone in the past eighteen months, and Mr Pritchard-Jones says he believes that all methadone does is 'keep the addict happy'.
Methadone, which is prescribed to 160 people out of the 200 receiving treatment for heroin addiction on Anglesey, allows the user to continue using illegal drugs without immediate ill effects. In the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board catchment area, 431 people have been on methadone for over 12 months, and 89 of those have been taking the drug for over five years.
Rhiannon Bennett, who lives on Anglesey, lost her son Edward Thomas to a drug overdose in January last year.
Last Wednesday the body of Gwyn Griffiths, 37, was found in his bedsit in Bodffordd, Anglesey. The exact cause of death is yet to be determined. Gwyn had been on 60ml of methadone a day for a period of nine years.
Meanwhile North Wales Police say they are working hard to highlight the dangers of drug abuse. Those working on behalf of the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board say there is no clear-cut answer on whether the system we already have in place needs to be reformed.