Addict couldn’t cope with methadone reduction

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A drug-addicted thief stole whisky worth more than £100 when his methadone was reduced and he couldn’t cope, a court was told.

Alan Harding had made threats to a police officer when he was arrested, telling the officer he would be sorry and he would go “toe to toe” with him when he saw him off duty.

Pennine magistrates were told how Harding went out pinching when he wanted heroin to top up his methadone script. His methadone was said to have been “rapidly reduced” to 25 millilitres because he had missed appointments with Inspire, the drugs treatment service.

The defendant (49), of Smith Street, Nelson, admitted stealing whisky worth £107.97 from Morrisons in Nelson on Monday. Harding, who received a drugs programme from the court in March, was sentenced to a new 12-month programme. He must pay a £60 victim surcharge.

Mr David Leach, defending Harding, said he had gone nine years without offending when he had been on a 50 millilitre methadone prescription.

The solicitor continued: “He openly admits he can’t cope without the 50 millilitres.” Harding had discussed the methadone prescription with Inspire, but the only person who could increase it was his GP and he wasn’t seeing the doctor until April 27th.

Mr Leach told the hearing: “Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, he has to go to April 27th on the low level of methadone.

“He has no electricity in his house. He has anxiety and depression. The defendant knows that if he fails to attend any other appointments, his methadone will be reduced further.”