The Point Of Free Heroin Is Not To Reduce The Consumption Of Heroin

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A free heroin scheme is up and running in Britain and one of the justifications for it is in error. For the point of a free heroin scheme is not to reduce the consumption of heroin. It’s to reduce the dangers and societal costs of heroin consumption:

A scheme where heroin addicts are given free supplies of the illegal class A drug in an attempt to wean them off the drug and stop them re-offending has been backed by the chief inspector of probation.

In a report on probation in the North East, Justin Russell said a pioneering “drug assisted treatment” centre launched in Cleveland by the police and crime commissioner had proved a success after securing a licence to supply medical grade heroin to addicts.

The report, published on Thursday, suggested the scheme – the first in England and Wales – could be saving the NHS and other services up to £800,000 in treatment and crime costs, equivalent to £5.58p per head of population in Middlesbrough.

Weaning them off isn’t the point at all. Some peeps like taking heroin. Well, OK, their life to waste as they wish.

Unfortunately, given the other things that society does about heroin this way of life carries risks. We make the drug illegal, meaning that it will always be sold cut and adulterated. Also, of unknown purity. This kills people through overdoses and the adulteration can and does go on to produce other health care problems. Plus, the illegality means that impure water is used, needles are shared and so on.

The actual problems from heroin use for the wider society come from the illegality the wider society insists upon. An addict regularly gaining their fix is no harm to anyone. If heroin were legal then it would be provided in regular dosages – it would be significantly cheaper than it is as well, reducing substantially the crime oft used to pay for it – as suppliers vied on quality and brand.

The scheme is great, it’s actually a return to something like the situation in the 1950s when addicts were provided with the drug on prescription. The explosion of addiction actually comes from the abolition of that previous scheme. It’s just the justification given there, to wean off, which is wrong.

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Michael van der RietBoganboyEstebanAddolff Recent comment authors
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Addolff
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Addolff

As soon as government get involved in practically anything they fuck it up. Why do you believe drugs would be any different?
“If heroin were legal then it would be provided in regular dosages – it would be significantly cheaper than it is as well, reducing substantially the crime oft used to pay for it – as suppliers vied on quality and brand”.
Canadians are continuing to buy illicit pot because it’s cheaper and of better quality.

Esteban
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Esteban

It might be the case that those behind this program know they aren’t going to wean anyone off heroin, but using that fig leaf reduces opposition.

Boganboy
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Boganboy

This would save the money wasted on chasing and imprisoning the drug peddlers and of course the addicts. One doubts that an addict would be a very effective worker, but presumably they’re all on the dole anyway.

I think roughly similar arguments were made in favour of legalising pot, or indeed abolishing Prohibition.

Michael van der Riet
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Michael van der Riet

The problem with that theory is that the same drug cops who were chasing illegal pot dealers are still chasing illegal dealers, ie those dealers who chose not to make a precarious existence running a registered pot shop. The drug cops are now trying to protect the profits of the registered dealers.

Michael van der Riet
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Michael van der Riet

Societal costs. That sounds like a pretty good justification. Who bears the costs? The addicts. Not a big problem, then. Compare this with a really big societal problem like domestic violence. Why don’t they make domestic violence free? Gummint-regulated to known standards, with safe places staffed by medics where you can go with your wife/gf and kids to beat them up and molest them. Alcoholism? Is free booze the answer? There’s a scrutiny deficit here.