Saturday, September 19, 2009
UK heroin trial slashes crime
A UK trial supplying chronic addicts with heroin under medical supervision has produced clear, positive results, reducing use, normalising the users' lives and slashing the crime they otherwise committed to feed their habit, reports the BBC.
It seems everyone wins. Now for governments to grasp the nettle and respond to the evidence. Don't hold your breath.
PS 22 Sep: The Age today ran a piece quoting Dr Alex Wodak recommending prescription heroin in Australia. The interesting thing is the readers' comments -- almost all in favour except a few flint-hearted individuals with an empathy bypass who recommend zero tolerance and execution, without offering any evidence that it actually works.
PS 23 Sep: And here's a firsthand account from a nurse who worked on the UK trial, with comparative costs of different approaches to drug abuse. He paints a a very positive picture of the trial and its benefits. It's a very different outlook from that of prohibitionists who would rather see continuing high rates of crime and death than 'send the message' that drugs are OK by treating addicts. There were 1,952 drug-related deaths in the UK in 2008, 45% from opiates and 39% from alcohol.