10 January 2007

Drugs and common sense

There's a petition on the 10 Downing Street website which actually makes sense:

Heroin addicts are known to steal and commit crime to pay for their habits. If the cost of heroin to the addict was reduced to zero by prescribing it on the nhs (subject to counselling) the reduction in expenditure in police time spent due to related offences could be used to offset the cost. It may even be cheaper for the government to do this, and it may also be possible for these heroin addicts to then find suitable employment, through the use of a counselling system, which would enable them to earn money and pay tax. (which could further be used to pay towards the cost of the treatment)

Go on, sign it.


Oz said...

Great idea. That way when the news gets round to all the people currently doing coke and dope that they can get free heroin, they'll drop those and pick up the freebie. Many of the dealers will then go out of business. Alright, we'll wind up with a few more seriously fucked-up junkies, but after all, who cares about that? I think it pays to remember that the society we've created has people who will get pregnant just to claim free benefits.

Cooldrums said...

Its a good Idea in principal however you cant just brush this kind of thing under the carpet.
Where there is a will there is a way.
Anyone will not be able to walk in off the streets and just ask for heroin. The Pushers only feed the habbits of people they can manipulate into takeing the drugs.
The Problem will never go away I'm afraid.

Womble said...

Oz, you seem to have completely misunderstood the proposal.

My cousin in Australia has worked on a similar trial which was extremely successful. Someone who is already a registered heroin addict can sign up to the programme, it can't be just Joe Pleb who decides they fancy giving heroin a go.

They are given a prescription to take to the treatment centre where they are given the appropriate dose, under supervision. They are not able to take the drug outside the treatment centre. That way, they're not mugging old ladies for a fiver to put towards drugs, nor can they sell the drug to buy cheaper stuff on the street or accidentally leave it on the coffee table for their child to ingest and die from.

The drug they are given is pure, and not cut with brick dust or rat poison, so they won't die from contamination, and the doctors can then reduce the dose and wean them off the drug in a safe and controlled manner.

Drug dealing is the world's largest pyramid selling scheme and Cooldrums is right, it will never go away. You take out the people at the bottom of the pyramid and it will soon reform, but take some of the customers out of the game, and it will help a little.

Oz said...

How is that different from the current regime of methodone treatment?

Womble said...

It is different in that with methodone, the addict is given the drug to take home and they can choose how much to take, where and when, and whether or not they want to sell it to someone else in order to pay for contaminated heroin. With the heroin trials my cousin was involved in (as an official, not an addict), they are not allowed to take the drug home. They take it in closely supervised conditions. Methodone is considerably more addictive and harmful than heroin, but it is used in the UK because it is cheaper.

Trials are underway at the moment, for a new substitute drug which is not addictive but will still give the same 'high' as heroin, so that people can be treated properly and taken off heroin altogether.

However, as a doctor friend pointed out to me, it's not just the physical addiction to the drug that is the problem, there's also the issue of the psychological addiction to taking the drug. Some people are actually psychologically addicted to sticking needles in themselves.

Unfortunately, though, even when some people are weaned off the drug, they go back on to it because they are of that mental persuasion.

I think we both agree that heroin is an evil drug when used for the wrong purposes. I just want to see a significant decrease in drug-related crime. An elderly friend of mine was murdered by a drug addict, who beat her up in her own home for the sake of five pounds in her purse. If he had had access to proper treatment, he wouldn't have needed to go and mug anyone. Personally I hope the little scrote rots to death.