The number of Scots being treated for heroin addiction has reached record levels, new figures have revealed.
Statistics published by the Scottish government show that around 21,000 people are using methadone, a heroin substitute that is commonly used when treating people for drug addiction.
The figure confirms that the number of people using methadone is ten per cent higher than previously thought.
Methadone treatment has been a particularly controversial issue since the death of two-year-old Derek Doran in 2005 after drinking his mother's methadone.
Worryingly, the official report indicates that a third of patients taking methadone care for children under the age of 16.
However, Fergus Ewing, the minister responsible for community safety, told the Sunday Herald that taking a simplistic anti-methadone stance serves no purpose.
"Methadone can stabilise lives, and it has a positive impact on the lives of many people," the minister said.
"However, methadone must also come with genuine rehabilitation," he added.
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Drug addiction treatment news : 23/07/2007