Pubdate: Tue, 20 Feb 2007
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2007 Newsquest Media Group
Author: Andy Tate
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Heroin)
Bookmark: (Methadone)


Heroin should be given to hardcore drug addicts to stop them 
committing crime, a Brighton MP has said.

David Lepper, Labour MP for Brighton Pavilion, warned that drugs were 
still a "big problem" in the city and backed calls to expand licensed 

Home Office research has found heroin addicts commit on average 432 
crimes a year, each costing victims a total of UKP45,000.

In the UK only a few hundred of the 40,000 registered heroin addicts 
are being prescribed the drug by doctors as part of a limited experiment.

Yesterday Ken Jones, president of the Association of Chief Police 
Officers which represents the most senior ranks of the 43 police 
forces in England and Wales, called for the drug to be made available 
to more long-term users.

Mr Jones, a former chief constable of Sussex Police, said: "You need 
to understand there is a hard core, a minority, who nevertheless 
commit masses of crime to feed their addiction. advertisement

"We have to find a way of dealing with them and licensed prescription 
is definitely something we should be thinking about."

Mr Lepper said: "If it was part of a carefully controlled scheme with 
carefully chosen clients then it would be good to try it to see if it 
does help to get people off drugs and help reduce crime.

"It's right to say there's a hard core of people who have a 
continuing problem and where other methods have not worked.

"The fact remains there is a clear link between hard drug addiction and crime."

But Tim Loughton, Tory MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said he was 
about the prospects of diamorphine, which is identical to heroin but 
produced under pharmaceutical conditions, providing a long-term 
solution to the drugs problem.

He said: "Simply coming up with a substitute for the real thing can 
cause as many problems as it's trying to solve."

Mr Loughton said addicts had been known to take advantage of handouts 
of methadone, a synthetic substitute, to "get them back to stability"

before going out and stealing to raise money for "the real thing".

The solution was better education and a "massive expansion"

of serious rehabilitation places to get addicts off drugs completely, 
combined with better mental health treatment.

Nigel Waterson, Tory MP for Eastbourne, said he supported 
prescription for a "small hardcore" of addicts who committed a lot of 
crime and could not kick their habit.

But he remained wholly opposed to widespread decriminalisation or 
legalisation of heroin, he stressed.

Last October Brighton and Hove was named the drugsdeath capital of 
Britain for the third year. The International Centre for Drug Policy, 
at the University of London, said 51 people in the city died from 
drug-related deaths in 2005.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman