SNP member George Adam, who represents the town at Holyrood, issued a passionate response to questions about money being spent on the controversial heroin substitute.
It followed publication of the results of an investigation by the Daily Record which revealed that £36million was being spent each year on the prescribed drug nationally.
The Record, which is published alongside the Paisley Daily Express, yesterday produced a five-page report on the controversial scheme operated by NHS Scotland.
Among the top 10 pharmacies for earnings from providing methadone services was one in Paisley. The Lloyds Pharmacy branch in High Street raked in a staggering £90,000 last year.
Mr Adam said: “I am shocked to learn Paisley has such an expensive methadone problem and I think it is now time to look at the way we are tackling drug addiction, because something is clearly not working.
“I’m reading stories about people who have been on methadone for 30 years and asking myself ‘What good is that doing anyone?’
“If someone is on methadone for that long, something isn’t working in the system and that is what we absolutely must address and have a clear goal of ‘clean living’ when drug-users are off it altogether in the same way an alcoholic wouldn’t drink.”
Mr Adam, whose wife Stacey has MS, also believes that the queues of recovering addicts on the methadone programme each day have made Paisley pharmacies intimidating places for patients to visit.
He added: “It’s the elderly and unwell folk that I feel sorry for the most, because they need to use these pharmacies too and these people are there waiting for their methadone.
“I’m six-foot three and I can find it quite intimidating at times, so what must an older person feel like waiting for a prescription?
“I feel passionately about this because I’m talking from the heart and I see my wife, living with MS through no fault of her own, or others who have fallen ill through no fault of their own, needing the support of the health service while there are people on the methadone programme for decades, costing millions of pounds.
“I also know from living in the town that some of these people on the programme are simply using the methadone as a top-up for their other drugs and that completely defeats the purpose in the first place.
“I’m not saying the methadone programme doesn’t work but we need to have some sort of limit, because staying on the same programme with no real progress for four, five or six years is not on.”
Lloyds Pharmacy referred the Express calls to Community Pharmacy Scotland, which represents chemists in Scotland.
A spokesman said: “We support the Scottish Government’s strategy The Road to Recovery, which promotes a holistic approach encompassing both maintenance of drug abusers and providing more focus on detoxification and rehabilitation.
“Community Pharmacy Scotland has put forward proposals that would see the methadone maintenance programme currently used with significant success taken forward to provide a greater emphasis on detoxification.”
Article curtesy of the Paisley Daily Express.