Calls to make heroin available on the NHS to treat addiction
ITV News revealed the number of people who have died as a result of drug use in Bristol has doubled in the last two years, from 33 in 2014, to 65 in 2016.14 May 2017
In Devon and Cornwall 424 people have died as a result of drug use.
The organisation Transform, which campaigns for the safe use of drugs, wants to introduce a programme called heroin assisted treatment to Bristol.
This would see people who use drugs being prescribed heroin instead of substitution drugs like methodone, and injecting it in a supervised environment.
Transform says it will dramatically reduce the number of deaths from heroin overdoses.
“We have more people dying than ever before so we think it’s time to take a new approach to this. Heroin assisted treatment delivers a better outcome in terms of reducing crime, saving lives, saving money and delivering safer communities.” – MARTIN POWELL, TRANSFORM
The start up costs of heroin assisted treatment are high. But it’s been shown to save money long-term, benefitting police forces, councils and the NHS.
"Although the economic arguments are really clear - that heroin assisted treatment definitely saves lots of organisations - crime, health - lots of money, in Bristol at the moment drug and alcohol services have just lost ten per cent of funding and there's another ten per cent to come. So at a time when government is cutting funding to local authorities by a fifth I can only see that this would get off the ground if we have lots of different players putting money in." – MAGGIE TELFER, BRISTOL DRUGS PROJECT