Thursday, November 22, 2007

UK heroin trial makes life easier for everyone else

A trial in the UK of three supervised injecting centres which supplied heroin and methodone clearly shows that regulated supply removes most of the problems of addiction and slashes the fallout and drug-related crime suffered by the wider community.

Ten percent of drug addicts commit three-quarters of acquisitive crime, reports The Independent. They are caught between irresistible cravings and a prohibited drug market that charges prohibitive prices. Crime is the solution for that ten percent, and the rest of us suffer.

Addicts in the trial received either methodone or pharmaceutical grade heroin under strict conditions, going a step further than the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Kings Cross. The drugs were injected on-site under supervision with no takeaways allowed.

Meanwhile back home we see Don Weatherburn, director of BOCSAR, saying 'If we want to get the most out of demand reduction... we have to inflict some harm.' (SMH 26 10 07). I'm sure the latest victim of a heroin-related mugging or home break-in would be pleased, especially after reading the UK story. I would love to debate Mr Weatherburn on on his belief that inflicting harm reduces harm. Prohibition brings many harms to the community, persecutes those who use drugs other than alcohol, diverts police from solving real crime and costs the taxpayer by locking up large sections of the population.

Prohibitionists continue to assert that regulated supply would not undermine and shrink the criminal drug supply chain but this UK trial (and common sense) indicates they are wrong. And re-directing drug addicts from the rebellion and glamour of an underground economy into a medically supervised environment removes the 'heroin chic' element from the culture while limiting the ability of existing users to initiate new users.

That refutes another prohibitionist argument -- that regulated supply will encourage more users -- and counters Mr Weatherburn's belief that inflicting harm is necessary to reduce demand.

Now watch the christian right ignore these facts and continue their hysterical and oppressive dogma. 

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