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How should addicts be treated?

09:02 UK time, Friday, 20 August 2010

The Home Office is looking at withdrawing benefits from people who're dependent on drugs and alcohol but refuse treatment. What is the best way to get addicts into rehabilitation?

The idea is in a consultation paper on the government's drug strategy for England, Wales and Scotland. Some experts have suggested that withdrawing benefits could lead addicts into crime and prostitution.

The proposals also suggest that addicts on benefits should not be required to seek work while receiving their treatment.

Would you, or do you know someone who'd be affected by the plans? What, do you think, is the best way to treat alcohol and drug addiction? What support should be given to addicts?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    To truly understand what is driving them into drugs and alcohol in the first place. To re-train them into living a life, and help them to live a life with some form of purpose be it charity work or community work. You can offer whatever options and help and advice, but if they don't see the light themselves, they will never change because they do not see the need to change.

  • Comment number 2.

    You mean to say that Junkies get benefits??? Great. I'm off to find my nearest dealer... It'll beat working for a living.

  • Comment number 3.

    Personally I don't like to think of my tax money funding addiction.

    However, if you remove addicts benefits they are likely to seek income by less socially acceptable methods.

    Why not consider paying more to those who attend treatment to cover the costs associated with attending?

  • Comment number 4.

    Tough love I think is the best answer.

    No more care and understanding, build a secure centre on moorland somewhere, where addicts can be taken for 6 months on healthy food, excercise and no drugs.

    The argument that withdrawing benefits will increase crime and prostitution??? hellooooo ?

    Increase the police force!

    I tire of "clampdowns", the long list of illegal behaviour in this country should be tackled head on . Crime, disrespect and addictions start really young in this country because there is no law and order, no consequences only parasitic legal teams profiteering from the pathetic legal system.

    There I feel better now.

  • Comment number 5.

    "Would you, or do you know someone who'd be affected by the plans?"

    No.

    "What, do you think, is the best way to treat alcohol and drug addiction?"

    Arrest them, jail them and force them to cold turkey.

    "What support should be given to addicts?"

    Any support should have getting the addict off drugs as it's only aim. The kind of support which allows the addict to remain an addict indefinitely should not be paid for by the taxpayer. If this approach fails (in a very short time) - default to enforced cold turkey.

  • Comment number 6.

    On the face of it a good idea as addicts usually have to commit crime to fund their habbit anyway. The relatively small amount they receive in benefits shouldnt be used to continue to fund their drugs or drink habit and the fact they may lose their benefits and accomodation may be enough in some instances to make some addicts concider rehab. This shouldnt be the only measure employed but one of a range which are employed to help such people to give up their habits and integrate back into normal life

  • Comment number 7.

    I assume there will be a replacement form of assistance - vouchers or whatever?

    Drugs are much associated with crime already where addicts do not have money for their next fix. Add hunger and cold to that, you have a lethal concoction, surely? Angry husband/wife wanting their alcohol battering spouse and/or kids in frustration? Part of addiction seems to remove logic, so removing benefits alone I cannot see working.

    (I am not supporting drug misuse or alcohol abuse here.)

  • Comment number 8.

    'The Home Office is looking at withdrawing benefits from people who're dependent on drugs and alcohol but refuse treatment.'

    Because that definitely won't lead to a massive crime wave, impacting on the innocent as addicts desperately scramble to get cash to fund their habits.

    What a brilliantly well thought tthrough plan.

    Does the new government even know what the term 'addiction' refers to - or do they think its some kind of choice where addicts who can't afford a fix decide to go without?

  • Comment number 9.

    why not let the tax payer foot the bill to pamper these self pity filled idiots. i have no sympathy for any of these substance addicts be it drugs or alcohol. the burden these individuals place on the nhs and social care system is immense and with society heading towards melt down, more and more will turn to the solace of drugs and alcohol. instead of trying to treat these people it would be a better idea to stop them before they get started. but as we all know, drugs are easier to buy in prison than on the outside and alcohol brings in too much revenue. anyone can have a hard life and use that fact for their substance abuse but at the end of the day its a choice for most, and if your weak willed or stupid enough to go down that path then why should you get help ?????? people who work hard then get into financial difficulties hardly get any help, people who have to give up work to care for sick loved ones also get a raw deal so please dont feel sorry for the addicts as they made a choice and must live with that choice.let them rot and give the money to those who really need it

  • Comment number 10.

    Awful. I can't imagine a lot of thought has gone into this proposal.

    If addicts don't have money, they will mug, theive and pillage anything and everything they come across, to be able to obtain their fix.


    If you're willing to spend billions in taxes to punish them, why can't we be spending millions on helping them?

  • Comment number 11.

    There are many people in this country who are suffering from illnesses through no fault of their own for various reasons are unable to receive treatment or cures. Why should genuine cases take second place to those who abuse their bodies with substances - many of them illegal.

    The health problems caused by substance abuse is self inflicted therefore, people who refuse help to cure their addiction should in my opinion have ther benefits stopped or curtailed if they refuse help.

  • Comment number 12.

    Does this government even understand why society pays benefits to certain sections of society.

    The humanitarian reason is so that the poorest families in society can survive.

    The cynical reason is to lessen the likelihood of those without an income forming a criminal,parasitic realtionship, with those that do, mainly by robbing them blind.

  • Comment number 13.

    The idealist answer is to say we should prevent addiction in the first place, but that will never happen. Human beings are so variable. I think a lot of initial reaction will be, " cut their benefits if they don't go into rehab." But then what happens to some of those at the bottom of the pile who will then steal or prostitute themselves ? Addicts of one sort or another will always be with us and there will always be those who refuse any form of help. This is very tricky and I can't come up with a master plan. Nor can the government.

  • Comment number 14.

    How should addicts be treated?

    "The idea is in a consultation paper on the government's drug strategy for England, Wales and Scotland. Some experts have suggested that withdrawing benefits could lead addicts into crime and prostitution."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I agree with the experts as that is exactly what will happen. How will that help society? When they get out of prison, they will still be addicted and MORE adament to do drugs/alcohol and the historical record indicates that.

    Why make the same mistakes over and over and over again?

    Decriminalization is the answer to the drug problem. The alcoholic has to hit rock bottom first before admitting and seeking help. Jail only makes him/her more inclined to keep the habit going out of self-pride for not being told what to do by the Government.

    Why do the Governments of the world constantly need to be reminded of these things?

    We just had a debate on the issue of decriminaling drugs.

    Do the lawmakers not read these debates?

  • Comment number 15.

    So people don't know that alcoholics actually get EXTRA benefit money to buy the booze ! FACT - from someone who treats alcoholics. As someone else has mentioned - get the tax payer to buy your lager so let's all become addicted.

  • Comment number 16.

    No I don't agree. Why?

    Well in truth rehab services are patchy at best and over subscribed. There is waiting lists for true rehab. It is patchy because it is very expensive. Given some of the early comments here, imagine the outcry if it became known that the cost of this treatment was taking NHS funding form "deserving" services. It's the same moral indignity of people that keep GUM clinics under funded.

    Wyn what tosh. Even some experts are saying that it is time we dealt differently with drugs and removed a number of them from the area of illegality. Which would also bring them under state control which means taxes which can then go to rehab. Therefore they can be treated as a medical problem as opposed to a criminal.

    As you know no one who would be affected I take it you know sod all about withdrawal. Cold turkey as you call it can actually kill hence why rehab services use different methods.

    Also as said what has to be dealt with is why people are driven to such extremes in the first place. Maybe you should watch C4s documentary on our war on drugs.

  • Comment number 17.

    Here we go again... cut off their money, lock them up, increase the police, build more prisons... don't people ever stop and think, and realise how stupid this is?

    Currently the police seize around, by their own estimates, 1% of the drugs in this country. So what would you have to do to seize even 50%? Ten times the police resources? Fifty times? And how about to eliminate the problem completely??

    The *only* result of removing benefits from addicts will be to increase muggings and property crimes as the addicts find other ways to replace the money. It's that simple and anyone who thinks otherwise is naive.

    The only sensible solution to this problem is - as exhaustively and conclusively debated on the other thread here - to legalise drugs, or at minimum decriminalise them.

    You cannot remove or reduce the problem by further prohibition or 'cracking down' - we've been trying that for forty years and all it's achieved is to make the problem worse.

  • Comment number 18.

    How to treat addicts?
    Take away their benefits - so they will have to to steal to survive let alone get their drugs to maintain their dealers revenue stream.
    Stick em in prison - where drugs are rampant and they will learn much better ways of stealing for when they get out to maintain their dealers revenue stream.
    Stick em in a health centre and force them to go cold turkey against their will - so when they get out it will take a dealer ten minutes to get them hooked again and back as a revenue stream.
    It makes you wonder who really wants drugs to be illegal - our self appointed moral guardians or people in need of a guaranteed revenue stream.
    Lets try and take away the financial incentive for all this misery for once and for all.
    Legalise the damned stuff, lift it out of the kudos of illegality. It'll be a bit dodgy to start with but the chances of an addict giving up are a thousand times higher when there is no financial incentive for someone to push you back on it.

  • Comment number 19.

    cutting there benefits will drive them to crime so they should just have there benefits reduced but not withdrawn all together ;)

  • Comment number 20.

    The result of this would be an increase of crime as addicts sought a new source of income for their habit.

  • Comment number 21.

    there is a theme here; drug addiction, anti-social behaviour, old men being murdered etc etc.

    If you belief the media, something fundemental in our society is wrong and until this is addressed you will never solve the array of social problems we face.

  • Comment number 22.

    1. At 09:26am on 20 Aug 2010, ill1g08 wrote:
    "To truly understand what is driving them into drugs and alcohol in the first place. To re-train them into living a life, and help them to live a life with some form of purpose be it charity work or community work."

    It is probable that the above rose-spectacled correspondent has never actually met one of these deeply-unpleasant people close-up and personally. If society offers them anything, it should only be "tough love" on our terms, not financial and pharmaceutical gratuities, on theirs.

  • Comment number 23.

    Ill people should be treated with compassion - and current government policy is harmful not only to the addicts but the whole of society. 90% of theft is drug related - but also a direct result of prohibition. Criminal gangs make billions out of prohibition and it costs us taxpayers billions. Alcohol has serious consequences - but rather than 'spoil it for the vast majority who are sensible consumers' they tax and control it so the price of partaking of a recreational drug is to contibute to the welfare of those who fall foul of it. Extend that principle to all drugs. Simple

  • Comment number 24.

    I believe that alcoholics get £40 a week to buy drink simply because they are alcoholics. I want this benefit so that I can drink in the pub for 4 days spending the taxpayers money. I have to go to the pub every day so where is my beer money?

    If you get benefits you should follow the rules. If you can afford drugs or alcohol and don't claim benefits then fair enough. If you claim benefits the you have the right to expect that in a civilised society you will be provided with shelter, heat, food and medical care. If you refuse the medical care to get you off your habit then do not expect anything else. We do not want to pay for your habits. Habits should include tobbaco, watching 42" plasma TVs and posting to HYS.

  • Comment number 25.

    Could you not just link HYS through to the comments page of the Daily Heil website, and save time for everyone?

  • Comment number 26.

    needs to be attacked early on in their addiction.

    I was just talking with my colleagues after seeing someone in the paper who was jailed for the 73rd time at the age of 37.

    http://www.metro.co.uk/news/838570-crook-is-jailed-for-the-73rd-time-at-age-of-37

    I don think career criminals can be reformed, amd if community sentences become the norm, then what mayhem will arise?

    The question arose, would you want to work with a "reformed " criminal? If it was someone who was a thief or someone who was agressive, a resounding no! Please just lock them up for longer at a cost about £30 per day.

  • Comment number 27.


    I've worked in the social housing sector for 10 + years now and have always thought that the money these people are paid to continue to fund their habits, is just plain wrong.

    I know numerous cases where 'substance abusers' (the current pc label for them last time i checked) start on JSA as their main benefit, which then passports them to Housing and Ct benefit also. Then after a number of years receiving these benefits and continuing to abuse drugs they make themselves unwell and incapable of work, so then we up their benefits and depending on circumstances these people can then move on to claim income support, and in some cases incap benefit or DLA.

    So we end up paying them anything from £280-£500 p/month in personal benefits, then you have to add on CTB and HB. Which can give them upto and over £1000 p/mth.

    This has always rubbed my rhubarb. The time to address this is long overdue. We cannot and should not continue to fund these peoples failed lives. And i know from personal experience that if you leave matters to them in the vast majority of cases they will never improve.

    More needs to be done to target this problem though, you need to go after the care providers also, there are far too many people working in this industry who prefer the softly softly approach and will always defend their clients and their 'rights'. Without ever re-inforcing their client's responsibilities. There are far too many companies making obscene amounts of money from people who are addicts of both drugs and alcohol, so you also wonder if it's in these companies interests to really strive to reduce the numbers of people in this situation.

  • Comment number 28.

    Addicts are ill and deserve to be treated as such.

    However, I agree that benefits should be withdrawn if they don't agree to treatment. Likewise benefits should be withdrawn from those who refuse treatment when they have a bad back, a broken leg or any other problem.

    If someone is ill as verified by a doctor and undergoing treatment, though, I think they deserve the financial support of the state.

    I guess I should 'declare an interest' as I have MS. I've had it 15 years and never claimed a single benefit. In fact I run my own business. However, I would like to think that if I do need the State's support in the future I'll get it, otherwise I'm not sure why I've been paying national insurance.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    Just been to the Doctors myself.
    While sitting outside waiting for my time i watched a man climb out of his 4*4 walk round to the back of it and move his golf clubs to take out his walking stick.
    I never even noticed his limp till he started walking in to the doctors.
    His perfect sun tan put me off from seeing how ill the poor man was.
    Then after hearing him complain about how bad it is for him being on the dole and not being able to work, i thought we should do lots more for these people.(these people can! they are stealing from the needy)
    Addicts can't help what they have become! I know that inside of me if i tried drugs i would like them, so my educated brain tells me not to try them. Their brains just say try them its better then being a coward in a hero's country. these people are scared to walk the streets so turn to drug like alcoholics turn to drink, for that little bit of confidence.
    If we could teach this in schools and homes these people that need this boost would be able to cope.

  • Comment number 31.

    "Some experts have suggested that withdrawing benefits could lead addicts into crime and prostitution."

    Snort! What planet are those people on? Do you honestly think you can afford drugs on benefits? People like that are already into crime and prostitution!

    Anyway, it sounds like an interesting plan.

  • Comment number 32.

    Addicts are not 'victims' ,they create their own problems - and cause a fair few for others around them.

    It seems that everyone's a victim nowadays, expecting the taxpayer to fund solutions to their problems.

    It's time for people to get real, and get their hands out of our wallets.

  • Comment number 33.

    Legalise all drugs.

    Tax the sale of all drugs - income from this can fund NHS treatment of drug related ill health (income from drugs taxation should be made commensurate with the cost of treatment for the harm they actually do).

    Allow people to take whatever drugs they want to. Inform them of the known, proven consequences of taking them (not catastrophized reports from newspapers for the hard of thinking).

    Prosecute anyone who harms another due to their use of drugs (drug driving, theft to fund a habit etc.).

    It is perfectly possible to be an addict and still hold down a job (and do it well and sober, plenty of people go out every weekend and take ecstasy and cocaine and then go to work perfectly well for the rest of the week whatever the daily fail says).

    Benefits should be paid for all people based on income, not presence or abscence of certain conditions (including addiction). You get money to feed, clothe and house you - health treatment is via the NHS.

    The whole point is it's your choice, not the governments, what you do with your life, but don't expect society to support you regardless - no one will be allowed to starve or go homeles or sick but that's it - I don't get funded to go and drink beer on the weekend so why should someone else get funded to smoke crack ? If you want to do any of these things you have to get and keep a job, just like the rest of us.

  • Comment number 34.

    It is time for there to be zero tolerance on drug users and drug dealers. No one was forced to start taking drugs it was a personal choice. If the people on tv and in other places of media weren't so ready to joke about, or to accept, drug taking as the norm then there would be a better chance of making people realise that it is always unacceptable to take illegal drugs.

  • Comment number 35.

    Taking benefits away from addicts is a classic knee-jerk reaction. It looks OK on a tabloid headline but having that much less to feed their habit they will simply steal all the more. Let's be practical please!

  • Comment number 36.

    There are several obvious conflicts here:
    I object to paying for an addicts drugs.
    I object even more strongly to being mugged or burgled to pay for an addicts drugs.
    I object to an addict not being able to get the treatment required to get the money required to live.

    There are several ways out...
    a) Lock up addicts in a treatment centre where there addiction is fully treated, they are provided with accomodation, food and drink during the treatment.
    b) Legalise drugs so that addicts can get access to them - a bit like cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, alcohol...
    c) When you find an addict lock them up until they turn evidence against the supplier, then lock the supplier up for life.
    d) Addicts who turn to activities like prostitution to pay for the drugs are really in trouble. First the pimp has full control of supply, second they have no where to turn because their requirement and their work are both illegal. Many prostitutes are drug addicts, many are also trafficed around the world (both in and out of this country). This situation is made possible by the archaic law in the UK coupled with the fact that demand is never going to be suppressed. The sooner we as a nation realise that people will use prostitutes, and that prostitutes will be supplied the better. Then we can legalise it, control it, ensure safety and health for those working as prostitutes and their customers and keep it away from places we don't want it (around schools and normal neighbourhoods). In many countries the approach of legalisation of drugs and prostitution has worked well, its time we stopped being so head in the sand and learnt. I don't care if you see it as immoral - do you work? Many people do. What is that? You sell your body and mind, often to the highest bidder. In many cases (except for some acting and modelling) the only real difference is the number of clothes you keep on. Frankly if my body was good enough to earn a living by getting paid to do something enjoyable rather than the rat race of commuting and sitting in an office I would.

  • Comment number 37.

    Providing that the rehabilitation services are readily available and of good quality, this is an excellent idea. Bravo!

    If addicts don't want to kick their habits, that's fine. It's a free society, that we all aspire to after all. No problem. BUT, why should the rest of us finance, or subsidise, their living and lifestyles?

    It should be applied to all addictions, including tobacco. I'm a lifelong smoker who defintely does not want to quit. Why should taxpayers subsidise self-harmful lifestyle choices? If you want to continue with your habit (as I do with smoking), then you finance it. If you want to quit then we'll help you, with rehab services. If you want the state to finance your living, then quit.

    Congratulations and very well done to whoever thought of this. BUT, we must make sure the rehab services are available, and of good quality.

  • Comment number 38.

    If a drug addict or alcoholic chooses not to accept treatment then i am 100% behind taking away benefits. Why should my hard earned taxes be squandered by a bunch of drop outs who have on the whole chosen this dead end life style. I would rather have my taxes spent funding quality rehabilitation programmes that try to help those who are genuinely trying to break their destructive habits. If this help is spurned then turn them loose and sooner or later they will account for their own demise.

  • Comment number 39.

    Crack, Heroin and Meth addicts would probably continue their habits (with or without benefits) unless they get some counselling therapy and rehab.

  • Comment number 40.

    24. At 09:59am on 20 Aug 2010, Graham wrote: "Habits should include tobbaco, watching 42" plasma TVs and posting to HYS."

    You mean I can't claim benefits for posting on HYS? Right, well I'm off then.

  • Comment number 41.

    To those calling for it to be legalised and that prohibition doesn't work - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11001599

    Put more money into treating addiction properly, then less people will be addicted. Yes it's their choice, but so is going skiing and mountain climbing - should we not treat those that break their legs doing that?

  • Comment number 42.

    "10. At 09:39am on 20 Aug 2010, Rob wrote:
    If you're willing to spend billions in taxes to punish them, why can't we be spending millions on helping them?"

    ----------------------

    Because they don't want help, that's the point - they have already refused treatment.

  • Comment number 43.

    Having seen the demise of alcohol's insidious effect, resulting in a young person's early death as a direct result, perhaps a series of before and after adverts would be a route to take. While it won't have any effect on existing alcoholics - hardened drinkers have radical, long-lasting changes throughout their bodies, it may open people's eyes to what that daily tipple or weekly booze-up can, and often does, result in.

    Stopping benefits would exacerbate the problem, especially for, though not exclusively, drug addicts. The habit by its very nature needs feeding and its slave - the addict - will find a way to fulfil that. Removing benefits unquestionably puts them into a life of crime, affecting everyone and anyone.

    Rehabilitation regimes-benefits-work need to be linked. If the participant falls off the wagon, then 'cold turkey' awaits in either hospital or prison. It's a dilemma that needs a lot of care, attention and joined up thinking/communication between involved departments.

  • Comment number 44.

    If the government gives an alcoholic £40 a week extra to spend on beer, they would immediately get 38p duty a pint plus 17.5% VAT.
    The shop/pub where the beer was bought pays NI/PAYE to the employees who sold the beer, the pub/shop pays a tax on it's profits - not forgetting that the employees and owners then go out & spend their wages/profit on goods which are taxed and subject to VAT etc...

    The government gets the majority of that 40 quid back and the alcoholic gets what he wants.

    If it seems unfair, then the government should give everyone £40 a week to spend on beer.

  • Comment number 45.

    The entire worth or suitability of such a move depends entirely how "addiction" or "dependency" is defined in this context. Cutting benefits for such people would surely only be fair if their "addiction" prevents them from finding work or working. So how on earth can a judgement be made on that? I can see the government abusing such a scheme and defining as many of the unemployed as possible as "addicts" to cut the welfare bill.

    And to those judgemental posters condemning addicts - addiction can happen to anyone, anytime - rich or poor, professional or manual workers, intelligent and stupid. Show some compassion to your fellow human beings, if you know the meaning of the word.

  • Comment number 46.

    What next cut benefits to those on job seekers unless they get a job???? Whilst I agree those unable to work because of addictions should be encouraged to seek treatment forcing them to do so will not work. There is already a long wait for treatment for those who choose to confront their addictions so how this will work I do not know, before we use the stick to punish people we need to use the carrot.

  • Comment number 47.

    12. At 09:42am on 20 Aug 2010, Nok wrote:
    Does this government even understand why society pays benefits to certain sections of society.

    The humanitarian reason is so that the poorest families in society can survive.

    The cynical reason is to lessen the likelihood of those without an income forming a criminal,parasitic realtionship, with those that do, mainly by robbing them blind.


    --------------------------

    I see your point, but at the moment we have a situation where addicts fund their habit off the state, ie our taxes help pay for their drugs. It would be better if we can get them off the drugs but how do you do that?

  • Comment number 48.

    Here we go again ...government of the mob, by the mob.

    We need to treat the addictive personalities of people who allow themselves to become drug-dependant; to provide an alternative, viable and sustainable method of making income to the people who grow drug crops and to protect those individiuals from the thugs who run drug cartels; and we need to deglamorise drug use of any kind ...cocaine and cannabis are not *good* thing ... and we need to ensure that no child is ever left in a home where drug use is the norm.

  • Comment number 49.

    27. At 10:03am on 20 Aug 2010, cloudy_day wrote:

    I've worked in the social housing sector for 10 + years now and have always thought that the money these people are paid to continue to fund their habits, is just plain wrong.

    ----

    So what are you going to do?

    If the taxpayer doesn't fund benefits there will be crime wave, in all liklihood a violent one, and the taxpayer will still be funding the addicts in prison.

    Rehabilitation is a better idea, but it needs to be remembered that you can't force someone to rehabilitate, they have to want to, otherwise its just another waste of taxpayers money.

    The only 2 solutions that may not lead to greater expense for the taxpayer are

    a) the leagalisation of drugs, and given the announcement today about the governments latest floundering efforts to counter 'legal' highs thats not going to happen.

    b) the death penalty for all addicts.

    Personally I feel b) is a little harsh, but for those looking for a solution that doesn't cause an additional financial burden to the taxpayer i can see no alternative.

    Or we could just accept that these people are a part of the same society as us and need our compassion.

    But compassion isn't a very fashionable attribute in the current age of 'Me,Me,Me.'




  • Comment number 50.

    starlinguk wrote:
    "Some experts have suggested that withdrawing benefits could lead addicts into crime and prostitution."

    Snort! What planet are those people on? Do you honestly think you can afford drugs on benefits? People like that are already into crime and prostitution!

    Anyway, it sounds like an interesting plan.
    ********************************************************************

    Given the HYO subject under discussioon on the thread, perhaps *Snort* wasn't the best choice of words to express your disgust! :-D

  • Comment number 51.

    I don't see why tax payers should continue to pay for drugs and alcohol, "just in case" addicts turn to crime instead! If our justice system was harsher and dealt with criminals properly then they would be less likely to turn to crime.

    I don't like the idea that my taxes are paying to keep someone high or drunk!! If they wish to do this to themselves that's their choice, but they should be out working and using their own money to fund this habit, not mine. I've had enough of living in a country where we pander to people like this, it is beyond a joke.

  • Comment number 52.

    Two HYS topics on the subject of drugs in the space on one week.

    It looks like its the BBC who are the ones that are addicted.

  • Comment number 53.

    the people with addictions need something to distract them selves and as for benefits they should not be getting any, they should be getting medical help rather than others funding their addiction.

  • Comment number 54.

    It is completely unacceptable.

    My tax money is handed over to give the government the funds necessary to support those in NEED, not merely those who DESERVE support. It is not their place to go all self-righteous about it, to be judgemental.

    Yes, it would be far preferable for anyone suffering from an addiction to make every use of the support and treatment available to help them break that addiction. But as experts (you know, the people government refuse to listen to) in addictive behavour will tell you, until an addict recognises the problem and is determined to address it, no amount of support or treatment will help him.

  • Comment number 55.

    If benefits are withdrawn:

    Many addicts will commit crime to feed their habits, including crimes involving violence, and the ensuing police time, legal time, judiciary time and jail time costs a lot more than the level of benefits did in the first place.

    In the case of benefits for addicts, these should be regarded as more an 'open prison/care in the community' cost than a simple case of free money for shirkers.

    And since the police/judiciary/councils and society in general are going to have a LOT less cash to deal with serious social issues in this case it would be a smart idea not to rock the boat.

  • Comment number 56.

    What happens to addicts who refuse treatment that aren't on benefit?

  • Comment number 57.

    Comment 2. BobHunt wrote:

    "You mean to say that Junkies get benefits??? Great. I'm off to find my nearest dealer... It'll beat working for a living."

    What a fatuous comment!! Of course addicts get benefits, just like anyone out of work. If an addict is in well paid work they wouldn't get benefits.

    So let me check. You want to become an addict, make yourself unemployable and then claim benefits? You realise that the government will make you take treatment before you will get benefits? Still want to go ahead?

    What a fool!

  • Comment number 58.

    Yet more pussy footing about on this subject.

    If you are addicted to drink or drugs it is by your personal choice, why therefore should you get help or even worse extra money to fund your addiction? I have an addiction to expensive holidays, dont see anyone helping me out with the cost!

    Exterminate the dealers and erradicate the junkies it is the ONLY solution.

  • Comment number 59.

    If they turn to crime then lock them up in "special" no frills prisons. It is really mostly male offenders we are talking about as the females can all turn to prostitution. If we legalised prostitution and treated it like any other business then we would have removed them from the benefits bill. I suppose some of the males could always turn to prostitution as well. We could make savings all round with this plan.

  • Comment number 60.

    Yet more sound bite politics to divert stupid people from the real issues, and it seems to be working!

  • Comment number 61.

    In the case of drug addiction the best way to get addicts into treatment is to offer ever reducing amounts of the drug for free from registered clinics, the quality would be 100% and the addict would be treated as someone who was sick. In the case of alcohol addiction it is more complicated due to the social nature of drinking. I have no answers for alcohol as the addict will only seek treatment when they admit THEMSELVES they have a problem. Certainly though, taking away benefits will not work - even if it is morally desirable - the reality is an addict will turn to crime.
    Treat the addiction as a mental illness brought on by a personality disorder. Medicalize it.

  • Comment number 62.

    Laws like this recent one are the epitome of how out of touch politicians are.

    The SCIENCE tells you that removing benefits form addicts will not work and will cost the tax payer more money!

    Why is this a moral issue? We all want addicts to be less harm to society and to cost us les don't we?

    So have 24/7 injection clinics, these clinics already exist in terms of handing out needles etc so why not stop handing out methadone (which causes many problems) and offer to inject addicts whenever they like.

    It will cost the tax payer around £12K per year but seeing as the crime and policing of addicts costs us currently around £150K a year it should be a no brainer right?

    And to get the morphone? Well i strongly suggest we encourage people to grow poppies in afghanistan and we then give the farmers payment directly for it.

    The farmers will become rich because they will get a 100 times more for there raw opium than the black market could afford and it would cost us LESS than we currently pay for the NHS morphone.

    This woulds win 'hearts and minds' in afghanistan it would stop international crime and take funds away form the taliban and al qaeda.

    A new middle class would emerge in afghanistan and prosperity would flourish.

    Not only could we supply our own NHS and addicts with cheap morphone but we could also becomae a major morphine producer and export it internationaly to other countries that need it for medical reasons.

    So in a nutshell we could so9lve the heroin addicts problem, we could solve the afghanistan problem and we could create a new flourishing industry in the UK that creates employment and will drag us out of this reccession.

    But it won't happen because policians do not do what is right or what works they do what they think will be popular amongst daily mail pandering middle englanders.

    Its time we had some elitism here because the truth is your average person hasn't got a clue what will work. And there opinion is irrelevant to the issue.

  • Comment number 63.

    42. At 10:25am on 20 Aug 2010, Khuli wrote:

    "10. At 09:39am on 20 Aug 2010, Rob wrote:
    If you're willing to spend billions in taxes to punish them, why can't we be spending millions on helping them?"
    ----------------------

    Because they don't want help, that's the point - they have already refused treatment.

    ----------------------

    Yeah, Turkeys don't vote for Christmas.

    How would you convince a suicidal person not to jump off a tall building/high bridge?

    Let me guess. You wouldn't.
    They've already refused help which is why they're at the brink.

    We have sectioning for the insane. We found it inhumane to imprison them without the help they need. Shame we haven't seen drug-addiction in the same light as mental insanity.

  • Comment number 64.

    The proposal certainly raises more questions than it answers.
    The consequences would be difficult to deal with.The logic behind punitive measures always escalates to a final solution.It is a lesson from history which could repeat itself for different reasons.Lets look at this a moment and ponder.What if you withdraw benefits from losers like this?They will go out and beg or rob for what they need.Some charities will help but will not be able to cope with it all.Crime will increase and the downbeats will get even more desperate and dirty.Society will get so sick of it that proposals to round up all hard-core addicts and send them to a special camp, will be accepted and acted upon.Once that camp becomes an uncontrollable mess, the logic of the situation will demand a final solution.There are many who would applaud such measures and reckon them justice.
    There is a far better approach, which would create a more virtuous cycle, but will never be entertained by the politicians, tabloid moralists and drug barons whose interests seem to lie in the failed status quo.

  • Comment number 65.

    We need to offer people financial rewards to ‘grass in’ dealers then give them appropriate punishments.

    However I think stopping the benefits of addicts should help and encourage them to stop their bad habits for good.

  • Comment number 66.

    No one should benefit from drug treatment [their mistakes], it's about time we withdrew these benefits by putting them into work programs, there is nothing call addiction it's just the way one wants to show petty.This Government should control the financial aspect of it by introducing the same system as in Holland in order not to have a breakdown society and multiple sellers, there are millions of people like me who drinks occasionally everyday depending on our health, why would one what to feel that they is an addict without a job and be a minis to society.

  • Comment number 67.

    It was said earlier today that many drug addicts have mental health problems. What wasn't made clear was the question, are the mental health problems caused by the misuse of drugs.

    Is it my imagination or are 'mental health' problems on the increase.

  • Comment number 68.

    Force every young person to watch Requiem for a Dream, The Basketball Diaries or, if they want something more recent, A Scanner Darkly or the documentary on the life of Brian Wilson (Beach Boy) - films showing the destruction of promising lives through drugs. They are, especially the first one, shocking enough to stop at least some people following the downward path to addiction. Campaigns that just plainly tell you that drugs are bad have no effect, films and documentaries showing the full effects could be very effective.

    As to whether to stop benefits of people refusing help, the problem is that forcing help on people will not work, the minute they are out of sight they will go back to the drugs/alcohol, people need to want to get better before there is any chance of success and I'm not sure that the financial hit will be a big enough incentive to make them re-asses their life

  • Comment number 69.

    It seems to me that the increase in addictive illnesses in western society is a symptom of the way individuals are increasingly isolated one from the other, despite the cheek-by-jowl cities that most live in. Where the sense of community still exists there is far less addictive illness. Addictive illness is a symptom of depressing lives.

    Somehow the addict need to reconnect with humanity, it isn't relevant to talk about benefits, certainly not until the issue of making these people feel part of 'us' is fixed. And this isn't Government's job, it's ours - every one of us has to think about how we connect to depressed and addictive personalities. Stop thinking that you can pay a tax, let some Government-funded organisation take the problem away.

    The parents of young people who get depressed, see no future for themselves, and look for the quick fix of drugs (including alcohol) are not to blame alone, we all are to blame because we do not make any attempt to connect with the youngsters and make them feel valued.

    And it's even worse for the middle-aged and older depressive/addictive drop-outs. They are not nice and cuddly like children, but they do need the same medicine - a society that they feel part of, and which values them.

  • Comment number 70.

    Nice idea, can't be done, European Human Rights Act won't allow it, aren't we lucky to have incorporated this farcical act into our legal system, druggies, muderers, rapist's etc win, you the law abiding citizen lose.

  • Comment number 71.

    Looks like the riots & looting might start a bit sooner than anticipated.

  • Comment number 72.

    With all the cuts it would be interesting to know exactly what the "treatment" is.

  • Comment number 73.

    My understanding is that some of the treatments for addiction are subject to debate in the medical profession in there effectiveness in there outcomes! Should we be forcing people to take treatments that are in themselves debatable in there effectiveness in there outcomes.

    Remember also that someone who displays symptoms of mental illness can be forced to accept treatment under a section of the mental health act but is often not used because of the above - so is this sanction really necessary or is it just more government bluster targeted at another group of people who cannot answer back!

  • Comment number 74.

    Legalise and control drugs. Remove the criminal element from using, increase it on supplying.

    Alcohol is a legal drug, so no idea how to stop this getting wors.

  • Comment number 75.

    I'm truly fed up listening to the bleating do-gooders who, to save their own jobs, want to see more help given to alcoholics and drug addicts. Thanks to Gordon Brown, this country can no longer afford the luxury of funding these types, so we should refuse medical treatment altogether, and stop the benefits.

    If people are stupid and ignorant enough to indulge in such practices, then let them sink deeper and deeper until they are no longer the drain on our health service and welfare system, ie they're dead. That way, the risks of crime to fuel their habits diminish quickly.

    I don't want anyone telling me that they can't break the habit and live a decent life - more consideration for others, greater will-power and honest commitments to change for the better are what are needed from these wastes of space. Until they are given the treatment they really deserve, they will take advantage whenever they can.

  • Comment number 76.

    I actually wonder whether anyone has done a proper cost-benefit analysis of the exact opposite - to pay all addicts enough to fully support their habits. While this will seem outrageous to anyone who doesn't want 'their' money being given to 'junkies' and essentially pay them to stay addicted, think about this...

    If you did that, you would immediately eliminate about 80% of property crime and muggings, and 90% of prostitution - these are common police estimates of the proportions of these crimes that are carried out to fund drug habits. The reduction in police costs, prison costs, health costs and insurance premiums would save billions of pounds, not to mention making our streets and towns much safer and more pleasant places to live. Even if the net cost was exactly the same (and I would be very surprised if it wasn't a lot less), that sounds like a better way to spend the money to me. Yes, you would have a few hundred thousand people lying around doing nothing all day and the profits would still go to organised criminals, but this is exactly what takes place now *and* we have the other crime costs as well.

    It's time to stop the moralising and just look at this logically and economically.

  • Comment number 77.

    Heard on Radio 4 this morning some spokesperson for an agency helping addicts that this proposal was wrong as the addicts were, and I quote 'some of the most vunerable people' who need societies help.

    I'm sorry but this sort of person just doesn't get the feelings of the ordinary person.

    My wife has several ailments and requires medication which she regularly purchases at our local health centre. She constantly sees methodone users awaiting their daily 'treatment'. They are load, uncouth, intimidating and certainly anti-social.

    What they NEVER are is 'vunerable'.

    The question asked is what treatment should addicts be given. My proposal is simple. Society should have a policy of non-acceptence of drug use and of zero tolerance and help to anyperson who abuses illegal drugs.

    That means any person convicted of a crime in which drugs are a factor are denied any state benefits. No housing rights, no income support, no money full stop. If they resort to crime they go to jail.

    The big incentive for me is to stop 'charities' who are there to 'help' these 'vunerable' people. When the addicts realise they are going to get no help, no money and above all no sympathy. then, and only then will they have any incentive to stop.






  • Comment number 78.

    Let's not get into the argument of legalisation of substances or exterminating drug users as one lovely HYS'er so nicely put it.

    Addiction is an illness and should be treated as such. These people need our help, not our scorn.

    The key is to get these poor individuals into rehab where they receive proper care. At the moment rehab centres aren't up to scratch. Especially for illicit drug users who are so often met with scorn from the people meant to be helping them.

    I'm not sure how you make rehab more appealing to someone who has turned it down already, but cutting their benefits is just so short sighted it's unbelievable. To make up that extra £60 or so a week they'll just commit (more) crime.

    Turning our back on people who require medical help for a medical problem is as immoral as it is naive. Shame on you who advocate simply 'getting rid of the problem.' I hope for your sake that if you ever become a 'burden' that we don't have such horrible people in parliament who would be equally keen to see the back of you.

  • Comment number 79.

    Ridiculous. I am paying taxes to help the ones who need it including addicts, but most of it goes to salaries of those who won't need it in the Parliament.

  • Comment number 80.

    I would far rather my tax money went into funding addiction centres to help people who need to get clean than was used, via benefits, to fund a habit.As someone in FT employment who is also a smoker, occasional drinker & regular cannabis user I know that if I can't afford my poison of choice then I'm not getting any. However I'm in the fortunate position not to NEED these things, I can't imagine how horrible full blown addiction would be. The idea of withdrawing benefits is an interesting one & has a lot of instant appeal, after all, if I as the person who earns my money can occasionally not afford to have a bottle of wine with my mates why should I pay someone elses alchohol allowance so they can? Unfortunately addicts are a very different breed to users & as many have said some, not all, will turn to crime to feed their addiction. Is that a viable alternative? For most people probably not. The option of forced removal from their homes & being locked in rehab probably contravenes all kinds of human rights laws so is also not viable. Decriminalisation (which I agree with, though not for this reason) is also an option but all that does is allow people to continue using tax payers money for drugs & doesn't actually solve their addiction problem.
    Massively thorny issue this, with no easy answer. The solution is NEVER going to please everyone so it's likely to turn into a case of "the lesser evil".

  • Comment number 81.

    Comment 57. wind-blown wrote:

    What a fatuous comment!! Of course addicts get benefits, just like anyone out of work. If an addict is in well paid work they wouldn't get benefits... etc etc.....

    Try looking up the word 'Irony'. I was being ironic not fatuous. This tactic gets completely ruined of course when you have to explain it to a fool. Or is this a double bluff – surely you didn’t think I meant it did you? There's always one I suppose....

  • Comment number 82.

    3. At 09:28am on 20 Aug 2010, steve wrote:
    "Personally I don't like to think of my tax money funding addiction."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------The amount tax that funds drug addiction is miniscule compared to what we will have to pay, not just in taxes, but with job losses, to fund the gambling addiction of a few bankers and the spending addiction of our fellow citizens.
    But he-ho, don't worry, because "we are all in this together".

  • Comment number 83.

    Little Amy's

    ''...no No No...
    I'm at the mo.,mo. ,Mo.''.
    Killed my dad.
    So so so?
    Too late.
    ...to go,go.
    Go.''.

    Suppose someone takes the treatment and in the near future commits suicide coming down.

    What sort of compensation are the governmnet talking about then ??

    Isn't the treatments quite expensive ?
    Do they pay for themselves in the short, medium and long-term ??

    OCD,sex addicts, pathological liars are we taslking about all compulsive behaviour ??

    dict 'a person who is addicted* to activity/substance/habit'

    *nb: circular description.

    so, what is 'an addiction'' ??

    A need to perform existential choices/actions ??

    All this from a government and military apparently dependent on nuclear arms.
    Cost?

    £25,000 million.

  • Comment number 84.

    How about treating them like patients? Treat them like criminals and they will act like them which will then give the stupid Home office even more problems.

  • Comment number 85.

    I have heard that addicts get extra money because of their addictions. I have also heard that addicts get extra money for having a dog. I have seen an addict licking methadone off the pavement. I have seen a youngster running to give his DAD his prescription methadone. So I have no doubt that this is serious , but, I am told treatment does not work, there are not enough places. But methadone is addictive and so is a substitute but not a cure. Merely cutting benefits may not be the answer. I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS.

  • Comment number 86.

    27. At 10:03am on 20 Aug 2010, cloudy_day wrote:

    I've worked in the social housing sector for 10 + years now and have always thought that the money these people are paid to continue to fund their habits, is just plain wrong.

    ----

    So what are you going to do?

    If the taxpayer doesn't fund benefits there will be crime wave, in all liklihood a violent one, and the taxpayer will still be funding the addicts in prison.

    Rehabilitation is a better idea, but it needs to be remembered that you can't force someone to rehabilitate, they have to want to, otherwise its just another waste of taxpayers money.

    The only 2 solutions that may not lead to greater expense for the taxpayer are

    a) the leagalisation of drugs, and given the announcement today about the governments latest floundering efforts to counter 'legal' highs thats not going to happen.

    b) the death penalty for all addicts.

    Personally I feel b) is a little harsh, but for those looking for a solution that doesn't cause an additional financial burden to the taxpayer i can see no alternative.

    Or we could just accept that these people are a part of the same society as us and need our compassion.

    But compassion isn't a very fashionable attribute in the current age of 'Me,Me,Me.'
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    i think enforced abstinance is obvioulsy the way forward. When you ask a drug addict to make sensible decisions about their future you are going to get nowhere as that person will either be high on drugs or they will be in some stage of withdrawal. Either way you will not get a constructive or coherent effort from them.

    so as nasty as it may sound i believe 'we' as society have to step in and make those decisions for them, and enforce them physically if necessary. I don't believe in cutting them off from benefits, i just don't want them to be able to continue to claim benefits for an entire lifetime, for what at the end of the day, is a self inflicted problem.

    so remove them from their social circle, remove them from temptation.

    At the moment trying to get a human being under the influence of drugs to make rational decisions FOR THEIR OWN GOOD, just doesn't work, i've seen it literally hundreds of times, all you are going to do is ensure a long slow downward spiral, ending in premature death and all of it funded by the taxpayer at an ever increasing cost.

    we have to enforce rehabilitation, a step which would be against the will of the user (while they are a user), but one which would be welcomed by the user and their families once said user was clean.

    But the support has to continue after that and there would be no point allowing that user to re-integrate into their old lives and old social circles. It's all a very long and costly process that would require lots of funding up front, but would save an amount equal to many times what we currently spend allowing them to kill themselves, under the guise of free choice.

  • Comment number 87.

    Zero tolerance does not work, just look at how many people in America are in prison due to their harsh drugs laws and zero tolerance approach and their levels of addiction; do you honestly want to recreate their problems within the UK ?
    And before you answer remember that you're paying for every one of them that ends up in prison too. Also take into account that even Singapore with its zero tolerance still has drug addicts and still suffers from the problems associated with addiction.

    Many people are forced into taking drugs, just Google "forced into addiction" and you will find countless stories of young people who have been forced into prostitution and drug addiction by criminals who wish to exploit them. The standard practice is for children who have run away from home or are having problems at home to be groomed by these criminals before being kidnapped, drugged and forced into the sex trade against their will.

    There's also the undeniable link between addiction and breakdowns caused by unemployment, illness, injury, divorce, the death of a loved one and many other experiences that we can all fall victim too. A friend of mine lost his wife and child when they were killed by a drunk driver, he went from being a normal, happy and successful architect with a big house and fancy car to being a full blown alcoholic within a couple of weeks. A month after his loss he was blowing hundreds of pounds a week on alcohol and started drinking when he woke up and didn't stop until he drank himself to sleep.
    Luckily his friends and family helped get him out of this situation before it got to the point of no return but he still managed to lose his job before they could. A couple of months more and he would have lost his home and everything else he had too. This could happen to any one of us and the phrase "there but for the grace of God" can be applied to many people currently suffering from addiction.

    Then there's also the fact that a significant proportion of our homeless addicts are military veterans that have ended up homeless and addicted due to a lack of support and rehabilitation back into civilian life when they leave the armed forces. These people have given the best years of their lives in the defence of this country yet because the government is happy to cast them off without a second thought once their service has ended many of them end up suffering from addiction. What starts off as a method of self medication can quickly turn into addiction without the right people around you providing the support you need.

    This approach has been tried many times in many parts of the world; all it ever achieves is an increase of suffering for both the addicts and the wider society.

    Addiction should be treated medically and threatening addicts with the loss of benefits is not going to help them beat their addiction. The fact that the government are suggesting this when many organisation who work with addicts have been highlighting the lack of support in place to help addicts is frankly disgusting.

    Addiction support is under-funded, badly organised and has been politicised far too much by those who wish to use fear and hate as a basis for their policies. We should be supporting these people, not threatening them.

  • Comment number 88.

    It seems we must be thinking of pulling out of Afganistan this is where the next batch of addicts will be coming from when they come home and leave the forces and there is no jobs for them and they are treated like useless members of society after what they have been through at this moment in time we should be ashamed of ourselves in the 100 days this coalition has been in power they have done nothing except kick the the most vulnerable in society PLEASE instead of trying to break our economy try to do something to create jobs be it private or public sector The most important factor at the moment is the cteation of JOBS It might be an idea to cut MPs salary in half and employ twice as many Many hands make light work and all that

  • Comment number 89.

    If, as some experts apparently say, taking benefits away from addicts who refuse treatment will lead some of them into prostitution, so what? Who cares?

    If someone chooses to become a prostitute, for whatever reason, that's their choice. If they're an addict and would prefer to have taxpayer-funded state benefits, take the treatment. Simple. What is all the fuss about?

    Turning to crime now, well that's a different matter. Commit crimes and you'll be punished, unless you're lucky (?). Up to you.

    Oh and "expert" ... "ex" means a has-been; s"pert" means a drip under pressure.

  • Comment number 90.

    All these people high on drugs should be given token jobs in the current Cabinet. That would certainly explain some of Cameron's crazy schemes from the last 100+ days.

  • Comment number 91.

    @58. At 10:48am on 20 Aug 2010, pzero wrote:
    Exterminate the dealers and erradicate the junkies it is the ONLY solution.
    -----------

    yes mein fuhrer, or.... lets not.

    Would you say the same for people who take drugs but are in well paid jobs supporting their own 'habits' and contributing to taxes and NI?

  • Comment number 92.

    66. At 11:02am on 20 Aug 2010, bev wrote:
    No one should benefit from drug treatment [their mistakes], it's about time we withdrew these benefits by putting them into work programs, there is nothing call addiction it's just the way one wants to show petty.This Government should control the financial aspect of it by introducing the same system as in Holland in order not to have a breakdown society and multiple sellers, there are millions of people like me who drinks occasionally everyday depending on our health, why would one what to feel that they is an addict without a job and be a minis to society.

    ======================================================================
    The really odd thing about this one is that there's actually a glimmer of common sense & truth in there somewhere (the Holland bit). As far as "minis to society" goes, can mine be a convertible?

  • Comment number 93.

    75. At 11:17am on 20 Aug 2010, milvusvestal wrote:

    I'm truly fed up listening to the bleating do-gooders who, to save their own jobs, want to see more help given to alcoholics and drug addicts. Thanks to Gordon Brown, this country can no longer afford the luxury of funding these types, so we should refuse medical treatment altogether, and stop the benefits.

    -----------------------------------------

    Child-bearers. We can no longer afford the luxury of funding this type, so we should refuse all child benfits, medical treatment, and any legal aid involved should parents split. Parents must be forced to pay for their own child's education.

    No, I'm not a parent. Is it that obvious?
    Even so. Why should I have to pay for the choices of others?

    Also, since we're trying to send the country the fastest way to becoming a communistic dictatorial country like China, we might as well emulate their Child-Bearing policies too.






  • Comment number 94.

    42. At 10:25am on 20 Aug 2010, Khuli wrote:
    "10. At 09:39am on 20 Aug 2010, Rob wrote:
    If you're willing to spend billions in taxes to punish them, why can't we be spending millions on helping them?"
    ----------------------

    Because they don't want help, that's the point - they have already refused treatment.

    -----------------------

    No, that's not the case at all. Re-hab centres are massively oversubscribed. They are few and far between and getting into one is almost impossible for the vast majority of people. Do you actually know anyone who suffers from an addiction? It's a sickness and should not be criminalised. Many people take drugs to block out pain and trauma they are unable to cope with. Mental health services in this country are desparetly under-funded and absolutely dire unless you can pay for them. Count yourself lucky you have never been to such depths of despair.

  • Comment number 95.

    YES!
    But not because they are just addicts...treatment is costly for starters and lets face it even time-wasting of going through consultation processes costs the NHS millions each year...that money could be better spent on others like cancer patients and yet is eaten up by people just to go through motions of keeping their benefits...
    The Government has a right to do this...plus a right to ensure taxpayers money is spent wisely on both benefits and medical care...

  • Comment number 96.

    Hahahahahahaha

    We pay for terrorists to stay here with their families

    We pay more to people who dont work than those who do

    We pay addicts to enable them to afford their addictions

    We are one of the most heavily taxed countries in the world and have incredible debt to clear..... Why?

    Because money goes to those who dont deserve it, this being a prime example. It isnt what comes in tax wise its the distribution of it on WASTEFUL activities and pointless schemes as well as handing bags of money out to people who contribute nothing to this country and are a detriment to society.

    Until common sense starts prevailing over political correctness and human rights tosh this country is set to undo itself and be drained of everything that made it Great.

  • Comment number 97.

    its a good thing to force addicts to get treatment by cutting their benefits. You can't hold a job if you are wasted all the time, why should you be able to hold an entitlement to benefits?
    Give them a chance to get clean, give them support and all the treatment they need, but if they fail to mend their ways then cut them loose.
    If they then turn to crime to feed their habits then there should be a very hard penality which includes enforced 'cold turkey'.

  • Comment number 98.

    The more I read this forum the more depressed I become. When did this country become such a mean spirited, unforgiving and judgemental place. Actually, I'll rephrase that. When did it become acceptable to screw the neediest people in society whilst allowing the people who caused all our financial woes to get richer? Say what you like about the Tories but their lie and propaganda generating machine is second to none and has totally fooled the bovine electorate in this stupid country. I'm wondering where all you right wingers going to spit your bile once you get your wish and the BBC is finally destroyed. I guess it'll have to be the Daily Mail website. There'll be no fun in that for you all as you won't be able to upset nice people like me with views that are so idiotic and nasty that I don't even think you actually believe them. You're all just playing to the gallery like spoilt children. I wish you all nothing but ill as this is what you would have visited on the poorest people in society.

    Moving on to the topic above, punishing people who are addicted even more so than already happens is a stupid idea even by this government's low standards. The money saved on benefits will have to be diverted into extra policing, court and prison costs saving nothing. It'll probably cost more. As has been repeated time and agin, legalise drugs, tax them and use the revenue to educate and treat. It's not quantum physics, it's commonsense. It does involve going against conventional "wisdom" but as this has been shown to repeatedly fail it is no bad thing.

  • Comment number 99.

    Take away benefits and encourage addicts to commit more crimes such as mugging, burglary, prostitution (with the accompanying risk of passing on disease) etc.
    In order to cure addiction you could try the 1950's Chinese method, a bullet in the back of the head.
    In reality whatever solution anyone comes up with (and this one looks like an attempt to grab votes ......sorry guy's you failed) will cost money.
    I would propose that addicts who refuse voluntary treatment and can no longer function as a result of their addiction should be sectioned under the mental health act for their own safety and taken to secure units where they can have their addiction treated, forcibly if necessary.
    I would also decriminalise drug use in order to take money out of the pockets of the dealers, many of whom are also users, and allow its sale under supervision at pharmacies where prices and quality could be regulated. This would allow for taxes to be paid which in turn could help fund the treatment programmes.
    There is no one solution we need to looks at a variety of solutions even where they appear to be contradictory.

  • Comment number 100.

    89. At 11:39am on 20 Aug 2010, Chris mather wrote:

    If, as some experts apparently say, taking benefits away from addicts who refuse treatment will lead some of them into prostitution, so what? Who cares?

    --------------------------------------

    You're trying to solve "crime", by supporting other "crime". VERY CLEVER!

 

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