Prescription heroin plea for drug users
Independent Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald today tabled a motion calling for pilot studies to give drug addicts controlled doses of heroin.
She said current drugs policies had failed and claimed a new approach was needed.
Handing heroin to addicts could be the best way to wean them off the drug, she claimed.
"It shocks people," she said. "But we have been pursuing the same vague harm-reduction policies for nearly 30 years now and no-one can say they have succeeded.
"Therefore we have got to look at alternatives. The Scottish Executive should be talking to all the people working to combat the worst effects of drugs in the community and looking to start almost from a clean slate."
She said her proposed pilot studies would compare the progress of addicts being given controlled amounts heroin with those receiving methadone.
"It doesn't give me any pleasure to call for this," she said. "But I think it is facing up to the failure of the policies we have had."
But opponents said the move would send out the wrong message. Alistair Ramsay, former head of Scotland Against Drugs, said setting up heroin clinics would be giving tacit approval to drug taking."