Monday, May 01, 2006

Germany planning "heroin therapy" for some addicts


Berlin - The German government is planning to supply long-term drug addicts with controlled amounts of free heroin to "improve their health", the government's commissioner for substance abuse Sabine Baetzing said on Monday.

"A heroin therapy is the last hope and provides help for survival for some of those who are addicted," Baetzing said in an interview to appear in Tuesday's Die Welt newspaper. "It can improve their health and stabilise their social situation."

Baetzing, a member of the centre-left Social Democrats, said she was confident the conservative Christian Democrats, who lead their grand coalition government, would agree to back the plan to give between 1,000 and 1,500 addicts taxpayer-funded heroin.

Baetzing said that pilot projects in seven German cities had shown that giving controlled amounts of heroin to long-term addicts was a more effective way of getting them off the drug than methadone, a drug used as a heroin-substitute.

Baetzing said the testing in the pilot cities also showed the heroin therapy had led to reduction in crime.


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