Pubdate: Mon, 10 Jul 2006
Source: Daily Record (UK)
Copyright: 2006 Daily Record and Sunday Mail Ltd.
Author: Natalie Walker
Bookmark: (Methadone)


MSP's Benefits Deal Plan

DRUG addicts will only get treatment and benefits if they agree not 
to have children, under a plan put forward by a Labour MSP.

Duncan McNeill wants addicts to sign a contract agreeing to stop 
taking drugs before having a family.

Those who sign up would get benefits, housing and methadone.

But if they breach the contract by having kids, all that gets taken away.

The addicts would also face having their children taken into care.

McNeill said: "Having a family while you are coming off drugs, or on 
a drug rehabilitation programme, is absolutely mad.

Advertisement Falk AdSolution

"We should be using every means possible to dissuade people in this 
situation from starting a family."

Backbencher McNeill sparked controversy earlier this year by 
suggesting addicts should have contraception put in their methadone.

Yesterday, social workers and drug addict support groups branded his 
latest proposal "inhumane".

A Labour party spokesman said the plan was being looked at as part of 
manifesto preparations ahead of next year's elections.

He said: "Over the past few years, we've a fairly strong record in 
tackling drugs and anti-social behaviour.

"This is one suggestion that will be considered."

Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie backed McNeill's plan.

But Ruth Stark, of the British Association of Social Workers in 
Scotland, said: "Are we talking about ethnic cleansing of people who 
are drug addicts?"

A spokesman for the Scottish Drugs Forum said the plan "dehumanises 
people in need of support".

And Stewart Stevenson, drugs spokesman for the SNP, said: "These 
proposals are totally unacceptable."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman