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Blair Advisor Urged Prescribing Free Heroin

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Posted on Feb 9, 2006

The Guardian: Lord Birt, the prime minister’s “blue skies” strategy adviser, privately recommended the more widespread use of free heroin prescribing to undercut the 4bn a year illegal drug market and stop the 260,000 heroin users in Britain having to commit crimes to buy their supplies.

The former BBC director general recommended that this liberal measure should be wrapped in a far more “coercive” approach to drugs, with heroin use made a criminal offence on a par with heroin possession and “high harm” heroin and crack users “captured and gripped” in a compulsory treatment regime.

Truthdig says: Hey, at least it’s more progressive than N.Y. state’s draconian and racist Rockefeller Laws.

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By LTJ, February 10, 2006 at 5:00 am Link to this comment
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If only someone in the Bush (or even Clinton) Administrations had the courage to ever propose such ideas, that could be a huge turning point for the discussion of illicit drugs in the USA.
  I think that prescribed heroin (free or not) or better yet, over-the-counter heroin to adults at fair market (aspirin-like) prices would have a huge effect in reducing crime in the USA.  Addicts don’t steal and assault people for money because they’re high on drugs.  They do it because they’re NOT high on the drug to which they’re dependent, and they desperately want to get a dose (at black-market prices 1000 times higher than they should be), in order to avoid severe withdrawls.
  Another poorly understood idea is that with free market pricing and availability for heroin (just like existed 100 years ago) far fewer addicts would inject heroin, as opposed to taking it orally in pills.  Injection is now a far more efficient means of delivering an ultra-expensive substance.  There is a big loss of heroin (85% or more) when passing through the stomach.  This loss would be far less prohibitive economically with fair market prices.  Users would conserve say 25 cents worth of product by injecting - instead of the current savings of $50 (or more) per injected dose (vs. oral dose).  For 25 cents, most people would just as soon skip the needle (and possibly the AIDS and hepatitis as well)!  The benefits and savings to society would be huge.

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By R. A. Earl, February 9, 2006 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment
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How about a little Q & A here. (I’ll answer first, if you don’t mind.)

Q1: Do you think the USA’s “War on Drugs” is working?

A1: Sure… about as effective as the USA’s involvment in Korea, Viet Nam, the Middle East and Iraq.

Q2: Do you think the HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS spent on waging this “War on Drugs” is money well spent?

A2: Sure… if you mean it’s providing an excellent income for hundreds of thousands of those employed in law enforcement.

Q3: Do you think even ONE addict has QUIT using drugs because of the penalties he/she might incur if caught?

A3: Sure… maybe even TWO. However the VAST MAJORITY, when experiencing the first terrible pangs of withdrawal, would kill their own mother to obtain their next fix. Any penalty “the law” can impose is INSIGNIFICANT compared to the pain of both withdrawal and having to deal “sober”  with the insanity that is today’s “society.”

Q4: Do you think that by actually SUPPLYING addicts, under medical supervision, with the drugs they crave will:

a) reduce crime because the addicts won’t have to commit armed robberies and break & enters to get the money to pay their suppliers (most often “organized criminals”)?

b) reduce disease and death, and the associated costs to society, by helping to ensure that the drugs are “safe,” one-use needles sterile, and dosages correct?

c) reduce enforcement costs by eliminating the need for so many police, so many courts, so many social services, so many hospital beds?

A4(all): ABSOLUTELY… No doubt about it.

Q5: So why don’t we do it?

A5: See #2 above. Always follow the dollar to find the answer.

Many offer the specious argument that to actually supply addicts with drugs is tantamount to “approving” drug use. This, of course, is nonsense, especially when you understand that REFUSAL TO SUPPLY SAFE DRUGS ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEES THAT CRIMES AGAINST INNOCENT CITIZENS WILL NOT ONLY CONTINUE BUT ESCALATE.

Just how much money, how much disease, how many deaths will it take to pound this into the thick skulls of the myopic, misguided, narrow-minded, ignorant people who stubbornly refuse to consider alternative approaches to solve the problem?

When something doesn’t work, only the very, very STUPID (or those who profit from the status quo) continue to “try, try again”... especially the same way over and over and over.

Addiction is a DISEASE caused by a multitude of factors. In my opinion, one of the MAIN reasons is to escape the psychological pain of tying to succeed in a society where the deck is stacked against them right from birth. Nature and Nurture have conspired to make living successfully seem impossible to many people.

What kind of civilized society persecutes and penalizes people who are SICK? Oh ya, the MORAL CHRISTIAN MAJORITY OF THE USA. Such compassion. Such understanding. Such hypocritical phonies!

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