Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cop reveals heroin plan

The deputy chief constable of Nottinghamshire has told a conference that heroin should be prescribed to addicts to help ween them off the drug and reduce crime.

Howard Roberts forwarded the idea at an address to the Association of Chief Police Officers conference, saying it should be considered. The gasps of disbelief and howls of derision came fairly swiftly but in reality Roberts is a little slow off the mark. The idea is already being tested in three areas of England.

It must be worth considering. If the three pilot schemes show any improvement in the subjects behaviour and help them get on track then why not. It's another option. Something to be considered and if found to be ineffective, discounted.

As with most drug-related societal concerns, people's warped notions of morality kick-in and the visceral response to any radical approach to an ever-present problem is "nooo". The government ponders how to control the poppy crops in Afghanistan and curb illegal exports to Europe. When think-tanks or experts suggest licensing poppy growth in the country to help supply the opiates needed for various medicines in this country, immediately the usual suspects say, "nooo". Why? Because it just sounds bad; it's not right; it's immoral; "nooo". But, hang on: at present the opiates we require are, I believe, supplied by the poppy crops of Turkey. Why not give the Afghans some of the business. Why not test its viability.

We must be more prepared to test ideas, but be equally prepared to admit if they don't work.


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