A new treatment, developed by US researchers, could help reverse the chemical imbalances caused to the brain by habitual drug use. While waiting for this drug to confirm its benefits, addicts who want to cure their addiction are prescribed substitutes by doctors.
70% of 115 Parisian pharmacies tested are concerned
But according to a test, conducted by the Association of drug users (Asud) in Paris in August to 115 pharmacies, which was accessed Le Parisien, 70% of pharmacies in the capital refuse to deliver these substitutes to drug addicts, including the methadone or Subutex.
"If I did not have it, maybe I would be dead, like almost all my friends," says Joel, 53, a drug addict with heroin. "The pharmacist always says to me: No, I do not have this product without more explanation".
Today, thanks to the substitute he gets miles later in a pharmacy that agrees to sell him, Joel was able to get out of his addiction. "It was all my life, there was nothing else," he admits. "Years wasted, stealing, jail time." Today, he takes only 10 mg of methadone a day, against 120 mg at the beginning. "Almost nothing, a capsule by habit," he says.
Terrified pharmacists
Out of these outlaw pharmacies, three have outright announced their refusal to sell these substitutes on their showcase. "There was a trade of false prescriptions", assures a pharmacist of one of these signs, on condition of anonymity. "We were invaded by thugs, so we put this message, which helped to clean up the customer, but after that, we should have removed it.It is true that it was awkward." Three complaints were lodged by a care center in addictology against these pharmacies which display on their windows their refusal to deliver Subutex.
A pharmacist, who will have to explain herself to the College's disciplinary council, justifies this practice by the fear instilled by those who come to seek these substitutes, sometimes via false prescriptions. "I admit that I made a big mistake, that it's against the code of ethics, but I was scared when we refuse to deliver Subutex because we realize that we are presented with a false prescription how often do you hear yourself say, "I will slit you and your children."
"We do not have to choose our customers"
For the chairman of Asud, Fabrice Olivet, pharmacists "have kept in memory the great robberies of the 1980s by heroin addicts." An image that would explain why these professionals refuse to "give drugs to drug addicts," he adds.
These refusals lead to longer queues in pharmacies that agree to deliver these substitutes. "Everyone must play the game", insists Fabrice Olivet. "In any case, it's the law, and the risk is that the people who need it buy these products on the street from dealers." Finally, Martial Fraysse, the president of the Ile-de-France Order of Pharmacists, agrees and explains "we do not have to choose his customers".
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