Monday, 6 March 2017

Police Buy Drugs

Whilst politicians in this country refuse to talk any sense about our utterly failed drug policy and there is still a naive belief that a 'war on drugs' can be won, we have this news from Durham. How can this be legal and how can it be safe when I always thought that only doctors were able to prescribe potentially dangerous medication? What sort of society are we living in where the health service can't do this, but a police force can?

Durham police will give addicts heroin to inject in 'shooting galleries'

Force will be first in England to implement radical approach that has achieved positive results in a number of European countries

Heroin addicts will be given supplies to inject in specially designated “shooting galleries” under radical plans to tackle drug-related crime in Durham. The police force is set to become the first in England to implement an approach pioneered in Switzerland and credited with achieving positive results in a number of European countries but unlikely to attract much domestic political support.

Under the plans, Durham constabulary, which was last week rated the best in England, would buy diamorphine – pharmaceutical heroin – to give to addicts, which they could inject twice a day in supervised facilities. The proposals, currently under scrutiny by public health officials in the area, come as Glasgow is trying to push through its own plans to open the UK’s first “fix room”, where clean, medical–grade heroin would be given to some users.

Ron Hogg, Durham’s police, crime and victims’ commissioner, said the UK was failing on drugs and desperately needed to try alternative approaches. “If we look at the UK’s position, we have got some of the highest levels of heroin abuse in Europe, also of cocaine use and [drug-related] deaths,” said Hogg. “Someone’s got to step up to the mark and do something a little bit different.”

Durham has about 2,000 heroin addicts, but Hogg said the scheme, known as heroin-assisted treatment, would target a small number of “really prolific, at-risk offenders”. It could be administered through the north-east county’s six existing recovery and treatment centres for drug users and alcoholics.

A part government-funded pilot scheme in Darlington, London and Brighton involving 127 chronic addicts found that giving them heroin significantly reduced both their drug usage and crime. In December, the government’s expert drug advisers suggested introducing heroin-assisted treatment after statistics showed deaths from the drug in England and Wales have soared recently. But the Home Office rejected the recommendation from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, saying it had “no plans to introduce drug consumption rooms”.

Hogg, who spent 30 years as a police officer, said: “When I first joined [the police] I was part of the ‘best [to] lock them up brigade’, but you observe it doesn’t work. “Even now I am still going out more than 30 years later with police officers on raids we were doing in 1978. My experience has certainly shaped my thinking.

“Sadly, none of the political parties is up for change. Our whole drugs legislation should be fundamentally reviewed. I have been there to see the bodies with needles sticking out, the human despair. It will actually pay in the long-term. The whole idea is to get people into recovery and change their lifestyle.”

Hogg claimed that politicians were out of step with the public, who realise the current policy is not working. The cost of supervised heroin treatment is about £15,000 per patient per year, a third of the typical cost of keeping someone in prison. It is about three times the cost of prescribing methadone, the usual GP-administered treatment for heroin addicts. However, methadone has its own issues in that it also highly addictive.

Danny Kushlick, director of Transform, said: “We congratulate policymakers in Durham. Heroin prescribing is proven to save lives, improve health and reduce crime. In fact, one would have to wonder why anyone would opt for criminal control of the trade, especially when overdose deaths in UK are at their highest level ever.”

25 comments:

  1. If you want to get ahead, get a HAT (heroin assisted treatment)

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    1. �� love this ☝

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  2. Durham Police get my cautious applause for trying this. I hope they have support from health agencies to deliver, assuming they have. Long been a view that drug addiction should be dealt with under health policy and not in addition penal policy. I do wonder what the legal position is though, are Durham Police supplying class A drugs? I imagine they are using existing legal frameworks to achieve their ambitions rather than riding roughshod over the law.

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  3. Does evidence from abroad show that as well as reducing crime addicted people begin to come off the gear? I always sometimes get the feeling those stealing to fund drugs feel at home in the lifestyle and fear leaving the comfort zone of shoplifting and using, have nothing to replace it with.

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    1. You make an extremely valid and important point 07.33.
      Whilst addiction may be the root, marginalising those that are addicted just creates an alternative society for them, where behaviours are shaped to fit in with your peers. Everyone wants to belong, everyone wants an identity.
      There are many levels of social problems that come with addiction, and they need to be given just as much attention in the whole as the addiction itself.

      'Getafix

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  4. Education health diet support counselling accommodation safety reduction prevention thersputic models. All investment in looking after and protection of all societies addictions cots.
    The police positive sort of makes me laugh these days. A culture of beat them up lock em up starve them deprive the addiction and long term jail dependant habits. The police so caring these days. No footie cover ups of cows control. No conspiracies' framing many. No more special control group smashing people in on marches. Yes ok i do see something only the police are as they have always been just as bent but more covert than they used to be. Now we have them in our offices they are more obviously as bad as i ever thought. Buying drugs they have always done that in one scam or another. What I would want to see is some multi agency but the police dominate all aspects now. Yet they are still that bad cloth.

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    1. Wow really 07:49??? I have to strongly disagree. There are good and bad in all agencies but 'all still that bad cloth' is going too far. Perhaps you've had bad experience in the past but quite honestly some of the police I've worked with over the years have been exceptional and I certainly wouldn't want to be without them.

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    2. All bad cloth while the blind eye the core rotten. I agree with you but they remain self protective of their dishonesty seen a bit lately to know they won't change.

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  5. Giving heroin to addicts reduces crime. Well fancy that.

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    1. If you're prepared to give out Methadone to addicts, which is just as addictive and probably costs more then actual heroin, then you may as well go the whole hog.
      At least if the supply is state regulated addicts won't be injecting brick dust and all manner of other pollutants used as cutting agents to swell the profits of drug dealers.
      I've often wondered, if the number of drug offences (supply and possession) plus the number of mental health related offences were subtracted from the number of people currently incasterated, what would the prison population be?
      It's a bold approach being taken, and controversial, but I think it would be productive to see what impacts it may have.

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  6. If the lazy coppers put down their doughnuts for an hour and missed their constant cup of tea and coffees much obliged mate chit chat. They could get off their backsides and do some real work detection of drug smuggling because it sure isn't grown here. detected the dealers. Get the suppliers stopped and assets seized. Work on some legislation at the highest level to make the risks too great for the organised criminals and then well see it dry up and safer for communities longer term. Don't forget the rozzers have to take their feet off their desks to go flatfooting again as in my office that's all I see most them doing oh and reading the sports pages.

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    1. So carry on the 'war against drugs'? Will never work and only keeps price high and therefore encourages new entrants to the supply chain. Prescribe it legally, price drops, no incentive to supply. Job done and villains move into other areas of criminal activity.

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    2. OH really No way . You would double addicts overnight and the new supplier the NHS . That is the road to ruination. Old fashioned notion to supply from clean sources. Get the criminals properly and get the police back to their own job and we can get on with ours.

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    3. Providing drugs that's state regulated has many positives.
      Safer for the user, they know exactly what they're getting. It impacts on the supply chain and dealers, and hurts the illegal money lenders.
      It impacts on the sex trade where prostitutes wouldnt have to risk their lives walking dodgy streets late at night to feed their habit, (or their pimps).
      It impacts on the local economy where small business' can't afford the losses they experience through shop lifting.
      It impacts on the legal aid bill, court costs, and prison population,social services, probation, and the NHS.
      It allows police forces more flexibility in targeting their resources and not having to carry out low grade undercover operations that really only catch the users.
      And it importantly allows the addict themselves to be open and honest about their problem.
      Drugs and addiction seep into every crevice of society (you won't have to look far to see someone addicted to prescription drugs). Not all with addiction issues are homeless, toothless or shop lifters or unemployed.
      Drug laws, and more importantly attitudes towards drugs need to change. Just trying to beat the problem back by becoming harsher with legislation and punishment hasn't worked. It will never work.
      The judge that sent Oscar Wilde to prison for his sexuality was free to leave the court house and visit any number of opium parlors if he so wished.
      Hasn't thinking come a long way since then?


      'Getafix

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    4. 'Coppers' 'donughts' 'rozzers' does 12:46 even work for probation or are the stooges back? Those who do work with police in their office will either be working as part of IOM or co-managing sex offenders and know that reading the paper with feet on the desk is not a luxury those police offers have time for.

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  7. This is fantastic after a while we can outsource the supply to the private sector that is the drug dealers. Then if that works we can have a form of happy hour in all the shops to give shop lifters a free range not to be apprenended. Then we can get the police to referee violent behaviour on Saturday nights - this is real progress! !!!!!!

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    1. Your approach has been around for a while, it doesn't appear to be working.
      Pedestrian thinking can't solve all social problems.

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    2. Like your radical stoned up approach ? What then lets dump spice then for the jails and instead offer up and hand all the inmates needle packs and spoons, a few lighters some baco-foil and peace and quiet for the afternoon. Pedestrian for me is better than all this rubbish too many and me included have an opinion but no way near enough able to get the resources to drive the solutions it has a bit of everything rule out nothing and sad state of affairs this country is in with the Tories yet again wreaking more social havoc that will take generations clear up. It will be too late by then misery is in.

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    3. Quiet jail wings were previously achieved with the simple application of sufficient numbers of experienced prison staff, active probation staff & old-fashioned cannabis (not the high thc skunk or other hybrids). Target-driven MDTs led to an explosion of heroin & other dangerous/unpredictable substance use that didn't have a 28 day residual signature. Most of the prison governors I had the privelege to work with (pre-Labour '90s) lamented the MDT regime & predicted the dangerous chaos we now have to cope with.

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  8. There seems to be some unclear thinking in some responses. Are 12:46, 15:46 & 15:55 working on the assumption that there will be an open house arrangement with police inviting all-comers to sample their heroin? Please be assured that is not the basis of any of the successful models of prescribing opiates to address addiction issues. Methadone - a pernicious commercially driven alternative in my opinion - is not prescribed on demand, it is prescribed after careful & thorough assessment.

    Rather than repeat already well-argued points I'd refer readers to the thoughtful comments of 'getafix' on this issue.

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  9. Working Links in talks to take over Oakhill secure training centre?

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    1. From buzzfeed - "A training and rehabilitation company that has been criticised for its handling of probation services is in exclusive talks to buy and take over a youth prison, BuzzFeed News has learned.
      According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Working Links is in advanced negotiations to buy Oakhill Secure Training Centre (STC) in Milton Keynes from its current owner, the outsourcing company G4S.
      Privately owned Working Links, which was set up in 2000 and acquired by the German private equity firm Aurelius in 2016, provides a range of public services, although this is the company’s first move into the youth prison sector."

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    2. That will be where they're spending the money stolen from EVR via the VS scheme (a la Sodexo).

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    3. Timely refresher of the extraordinarily meteoric rise & rise of Lurking Winks (from wikipedia & others):

      "Working Links was established in 2000 by the Shareholder Executive, Manpower, and Ernst & Young Consulting. Ernst & Young Consulting merged with Gemini Consulting, a branch of Cap Gemini, to form Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Cap Gemini Ernst & Young was renamed Capgemini in 2004. The charity Mission Australia acquired a share of the company in 2006, rendering Working Links the first public, private and voluntary organisation in the UK.

      Their turnover grew from £63 million in 2006 to £123 million in 2012.

      In 2012 company was the subject of fraud allegations made by its former chief auditor Eddie Hutchinson. Working Links denied the allegations stating that they have "a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and rigorous processes in place to handle any suspected incidents of fraud or other misconduct."

      The Department for Work and Pensions stated that the "allegations all relate to programmes run by the previous government" and that they have measures in place to prevent fraud.

      European investment firm Aurelius acquired Working Links for an undisclosed sum in June 2016."

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    4. Take over Oakhill oh dear whatever happened before its going to get a lot worse.

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