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Should there be places available where people addicted to drugs can use them medically supervised?

August 30, 2018 6:53 PM
By Cllr Mark Haigh
Cllr Mark Haigh

Cllr Mark Haigh

Controlled drugs are the scourge of our modern society and in most parts of the world their use is controlled and regulated. In the UK, possession and dealing in controlled drugs is regulated by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. In broad terms, possession of controlled drugs amounts to a criminal offence which potentially carries a prison sentence. It necessarily follows that this legislation drives the consumption of controlled drugs underground.

The actual use of controlled drugs is a completely unregulated process. There are no quality controls, no hygiene checks, no guidelines as to consumption
and no leaflets identifying side effects. There have been numerous reported cases of contaminated drugs causing serious illnesses including hepatitis and HIV or even death. This can apply to the oral use of drugs but is a particular problem associated with intravenous use. These consequences are all very avoidable no matter how entrenched the addiction. The criminalisation of controlled drugs is a massive subject of debate in itself - but not one I propose to address in this article.

Rather, I am concerned as a human being for the devastating effects of unregulated drug use upon the end user when things go wrong. Wherever your opinion lies upon the issue of the criminalisation of drug possession, the truth of the matter is that as things stand, anyone who wants to get hold of controlled drugs can do so.
So, I personally advocate the setting up of safe houses where the consumption of controlled drugs can be overseen and regulated.

Overdosing would be eliminated as would the appearance of contaminated drugs in the supply chain. There would be a cost - but I believe there would be a corresponding saving far in excess of the cost in terms of savings on NHS care.