Tuesday, August 23, 2005

SNP considers heroin on prescription plan

Times Online

The SNP could become the first mainstream party in the UK to advocate the legalisation of heroin, writes Marc Horne.

A leading member of the party, Brian Adam — co-convener of the Scottish parliament’s group on drug and alcohol misuse — is preparing a case for allowing addicts to be prescribed the class A drug by their GPs.

He is concerned that the current methadone programme is creating a generation of zombies who never become clear of their opiate addiction.

The SNP leadership said it has an open mind on the issue and would support the legalisation of the drug if further research presented a compelling enough case. It would be a high-risk strategy as there is a cross- party consensus against such a move.

However, Adam, a biochemist and toxicologist, said the status quo was failing thousand of Scots addicts.

“Ministers should consider following the example of other countries and look at taking the radical step of prescribing heroin to addicts so that they can be gradually weaned off it and eventually beat their addiction,” he said.

“We need to look at the alternative methods such as treatment with heroin itself. The international evidence from Switzerland and the Netherlands suggests that heroin is more effective in getting people weaned off their addiction than methadone.”

An SNP spokesman said: “Heroin addiction is a serious problem in Scotland and the solutions that have worked overseas should be examined in a Scottish context.”


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