'Utterly ludicrous': Fury over plan to give free heroin to region's drug addicts

By Pete Madeley | Health | Published:

Radical plans to give drug addicts free heroin on the NHS have polarised opinion – with critics suggesting the scheme was akin to police 'waving the white flag' in the face of criminals.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has put forward the controversial measure, which would allow doctors to prescribe heroin to addicts who have failed to respond to other treatment.

Express & Star readers have voted overwhelmingly against the scheme, with around 68 per cent of more than 6,000 respondents to an online poll opposing the measure.

And West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge described the plan as 'utterly ludicrous', saying it was evidence that the police had given up on trying to stop crime.

Mr Jamieson's plan forms part of a wide-ranging new policy that includes providing rooms for addicts to inject heroin and installing drug testing areas in clubs and bars.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson

It has received widespread support from professionals and experts working in the field, who argue that treatment, rather than prison, is the best strategy to reduce crime.

Lord Ramsbotham, co-chair of the drugs, alcohol and justice cross-party parliamentary group, claimed the scheme would take addicts out of the criminal justice system.

"We welcome these recommendations as a most constructive and convincing contribution," he said.


Baroness Molly Beacher, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group for drug policy reform, said the proposals had 'identified the idiocy of current UK drugs policy which wastes billions of pounds on the criminal justice system, and fails communities and vulnerable people'.

Featherstone Prison governor Babafemi Dada, said: "This will help reduce numbers of victims and give hope to those who have had to deal with the impact of drug use."

White flag

Dr Bill Strange, chair of Birmingham Local Medical Committee, which represents more than 600 GPs in the city, said he supported plans to establish drug consumption rooms.


"We think they could offer a considerable potential to improve the care of a disadvantaged section of our citizens," he said.

UKIP MEP Mr Etheridge said: "This utterly ludicrous idea shows what the modern day British police force has come to.

"They find it too difficult to track down and arrest criminals so instead they wave the white flag and start giving them the illegal things they want in the first place.

"Next they will be telling us to leave our front doors open for a few hours every day so burglars can come in and take all our stuff."

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.


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