DRUG addicts collecting methadone at a pharmacy are being given priority over families, a mother has claimed.

Louise Davies, from Greenstead, Colchester, says she has been forced to stand in hour-long queues while recovering addicts are seen first at the Boots Chemist in Tamarisk Way.

Mrs Davies regularly goes to the pharmacy to pick up indigestion medicine for her 13-week-old daughter.

The mother-of-three has called for Boots to review its policy and open a separate clinic for people needing methadone – a replacement drug to wean addicts off heroin.

She said: “I have nothing against the patients and understand that they need their medicine.

“But if there are that many methadone takers on the books, the shop should close to see them at a certain time.

“It is not really the kind of thing you want children waiting amongst and they must feel self-conscious having to collect it in front of other people.”

Essi Gooding, a spokesman for Boots UK, said it is in talks with the store to address the issues.

The Essex Drug and Alcohol Partnership says the number of methadone users in Colchester appears to be falling.

Ben Hughes, strategic manager, said: “There is evidence to suggest heroin use has reduced, that’s a national trend born out in Essex.”