March 2017 DDN March 2017 DDN Magazine - Page 4

‘ the aim of the initiative is to save the lives of addicts , shut down drug dealers and reduce acquisitive crime .’
‘ Raising the price of alcohol is more likely to benefit the economy than harm it .’ Aveek BhAttAchARyA



DURHAM CONSTABULARY is planning to become the first police force in England to offer heroin-assisted treatment to problem drug users .
Under the proposals , people whose drug use has led to prolific offending would be able to follow a programme designed to ‘ stabilise their addiction in a controlled environment ’ and reduce their dependency until they stopped taking heroin altogether , said Durham police , crime and victims ’ commissioner , Ron Hogg . They would also be expected to engage with conventional treatment at the same time .
‘ I have asked our local public health departments to suggest a series of options which would enable us to introduce heroin-assisted treatment in the Durham area ,’ he stated , with the annual cost of heroin-assisted treatment estimated at around a third of that of keeping someone in prison . ‘ The aim of the initiative is to save the lives of addicts , shut down drug dealers and reduce acquisitive crime . Instead of stealing in order to fund their habit , and money flowing the organised crime gangs , addicts will be helped to recover . The costs associated with it would be saved through reduced costs in the longer term to the courts , prisons , the police , and wider society .’
Glasgow is also planning to open a consumption room and offer heroin-assisted treatment , after city officials approved the development of a business case late last year ( DDN , November 2016 , page 4 ).
The Durham scheme is likely to prove controversial , however , with an editorial in the Mail on Sunday stating that ‘ law-abiding , hard-working citizens whose taxes are used to pay for heroin may feel they have been mugged by the taxman to pay for someone else ’ s bad behaviour ’, and adding that the ‘ biggest objection ’ was that the plan was sponsored by a police force . ‘ Their job is to uphold the law ,’ it said . ‘ They cannot actively help people to do something that would be illegal in other circumstances . It is a step too far .’
HEROIN , COCAINE AND MDMA are now being sold at ‘ unprecedented ’ levels of purity , according to the latest DrugWise survey of the UK ’ s street drugs market . This confirms a trend of rising purity levels detected since 2014 , says Highways and buyways : a snapshot of UK drug scenes 2016 , which is based on interviews with police officers , treatment staff and others . While heroin purity had reached 40 per cent three years ago , following the ‘ drought ’ of 2010 , purity levels of up to 60 per cent are now being quoted , the document states . It adds that while the ‘ primary aims ’ of last year ’ s controversial Psychoactive Substances Act ( DDN , June 2016 , page 4 ) had been achieved – closing ‘ head shops ’ and stopping chemists from simply tweaking the formula each time a drug was banned – synthetic cannabinoids have now become firmly established as street drugs in some areas , causing ‘ continuing problems for vulnerable groups ’ like rough sleepers and prisoners . Report at www . drugwise . org . uk

‘ the aim of the initiative is to save the lives of addicts , shut down drug dealers and reduce acquisitive crime .’

Ron hogg
ALCOHOL ADVERTISING SHOULD BE REMOVED from streets , parks and public transport , says a report from Alcohol Focus Scotland . Promoting good health from childhood also wants to see a
INDUSTRY CLAIMS ABOUT ALCOHOL ’ S BENEFITS to the UK economy are ‘ overstated ’, according to an Institute of Alcohol Studies ( IAS ) report . Alcohol is now 60 per cent more affordable than it was in 1980 , says Splitting the bill : alcohol ’ s impact on the UK economy , and any drop in consumption as a result of increases in cost are likely to reduce the estimated £ 8-11bn annual impact of impaired productivity , alcohol-related ill health , unemployment and premature death . ‘ Economic arguments are regularly used to resist policies that tackle excessive alcohol consumption , such as raising duty ,’ said IAS policy analyst Aveek Bhattacharya . ‘ Yet raising the price of alcohol is more likely to benefit the economy than harm it , by reducing the productivity costs associated with workers ’ harmful alcohol consumption .’ Document at www . ias . org . uk phasing out of alcohol sponsorship in sports , music and cultural events , as well as further advertising restrictions for social media , print , cinema and TV . ‘ We allow alcohol companies to reach our children from a young age ,’ said chief executive Alison Douglas . ‘ They are seeing and hearing positive messages about alcohol when waiting for the school bus , watching the football , at the cinema or using social media . We need to create environments that foster positive choices and support children ’ s healthy development .’ Report at www . alcohol-focus-scotland . org . uk
A NEW GUIDE to the legal framework around sex work has been published by Release . As well as setting out the criminal offences , Sex workers and the law includes advice on issues such as welfare benefits , dealing with the police and going to court . The guide is aimed at people engaged in sex work as well as statutory and voluntary agencies and professionals who come into contact with those in the sex industry . Documents at www . release . org . uk
A THIRD OF RELATIONSHIPS affected by drug or alcohol problems will eventually break down , according to research by the charity OnePlusOne in partnership with Adfam . Of the survey sample of 100 people with substance issues , nearly 80 per cent reported arguing with their partner and more than 70 per cent said their relationship had been affected ‘ to a large extent ’. However , more than 27 per cent said their relationship had become ‘ stronger ’ after seeking professional support . The research forms part of the DWP-funded Relationship Realities project , a collection of audio stories and practical advice from people in families affected by substance use . www . adfam . org . uk / couple _ relationships

‘ Raising the price of alcohol is more likely to benefit the economy than harm it .’ Aveek BhAttAchARyA

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