Prescribe heroin to more addicts – Police Chief

Ken Jones, the Head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, has called for more heroin addicts to be prescribed heroin on the NHS. He believes it will reduce crime and deaths by overdose. Since the 1920’s prescription has been part of the UK’s strategy against heroin, however, this has reduced since the 1960’s with a shift to methadone. Wider prescription is presently followed in Switzerland and the Netherlands but targeted at those for whom abstinence and methadone programmes have failed. However, General Practitioners are opposed on medical and practical grounds. They worry about perpetuating addiction and the high costs of prescription bring into question its cost effectiveness and raise budget issues. In Northern Ireland south Belfast and Ballymena have the highest number of heroin addicts with the strategy emphasis upon harm reduction.