Comments for en-gb 30 Wed 27 Aug 2014 18:14:26 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at Patrick English This post has been Removed Fri 06 Aug 2010 15:12:54 GMT+1 John Ellis thinks it is one of those drugs that is "not really addictive". "I wouldn't put it up there with crack and heroin. I'd say it's down there with cannabis; just one of the party drugs." So much for education... Tue 02 Mar 2010 15:49:33 GMT+1 John Ellis about coke... weak policing......shabby government.nothing new in the governments Missue of a drug acts.Infact it could almost be said that recent moves and changes in drug laws are encourageing this.Worries about cocaine purity leading to it being UNSAFE...??? um its a class A drug of course its unsafe.... Tue 02 Mar 2010 15:19:43 GMT+1 John Ellis HAHA UN complains its being undermined.... Fri 26 Feb 2010 18:40:26 GMT+1 John Ellis Thu 25 Feb 2010 14:51:24 GMT+1 John Ellis The law and its quantity limits will take effect on January 1.The Czech government had approved the decriminalization law late last year, but failed to set precise quantities covered by it, instead leaving it to police and prosecutors to determine what constituted a "larger than small" amount of drugs. The resulting confusion -- and the prosecution of some small-scale marijuana growers as drug traffickers -- led the government to adopt more precise criteria.Under the new law, possession of less than the following amounts of illicit drugs will not be a criminal offense: Marijuana 15 grams (or five plants) Hashish 5 grams Magic mushrooms 40 pieces Peyote 5 plants LSD 5 tablets Ecstasy 4 tablets Amphetamine 2 grams Methamphetamine 2 grams Heroin 1.5 grams Coca 5 plants Cocaine 1 gram Possession of "larger than a small amount" of marijuana can result in a jail sentence of up to one year. For other illicit drugs, the sentence is two years. Trafficking offenses carry stiffer sentences.Justice Minister Daniela Kovarova said that the ministry had originally proposed decriminalizing the possession of up to two grams of hard drugs, but decided that limits being imposed by courts this year were appropriate. "The government finally decided that it would stick to the current court practice and drafted a table based on these limits," Kovarova said. Mon 04 Jan 2010 09:37:09 GMT+1 dennisjunior1 Mark~~~That would be a good idea for finding a substitue for prison drug policy...But, what would be the newest policy!=Dennis Junior= Sat 26 Dec 2009 03:38:40 GMT+1 John Ellis Anthrax found in dead heroin user from Glasgow :( Fri 18 Dec 2009 00:25:14 GMT+1 John Ellis a bit more drug users finaly gain equal rights to intoxication Wed 16 Dec 2009 16:26:53 GMT+1 John Ellis production up synthetic drugs production up Mon 14 Dec 2009 10:25:35 GMT+1 John Ellis How Weed Won the West - Official Trailer #1 Sun 13 Dec 2009 14:03:17 GMT+1 John Ellis Sat 12 Dec 2009 21:36:51 GMT+1 Adie in 1990 a friend of mine went to prison for possesion of a very small amount of cannabis, he came out a fully fledged junkie and died about two years ago of his addiction. He had never tried heroin before he went in but found it easy to get inside and the plus I believe is that its out of your system really quick so avoiding detection by drugs tests. Isnt it about time this government had a grown up look at the drug problem in this country or do we listen to the idiot Johnson until it all comes crashing down around our ears . Fri 11 Dec 2009 17:34:44 GMT+1 Bowmore I think lots of people are missing the point here. Everyone talks about drug free wings. How on earth is this going to be funded, because the prison service cant do it. Every year they are forced to cut their budgets which invariably comes from staff cuts. Staffing levels at the average local prison is around 30 prisoners to 1 member of unified staff on the landings and at some points during the day that figure can double. It then becomes almost impossible to keep control of that wing. Yes prisoners are tested for drugs by means of voluntary and mandatory testing, V.D.T & M.D.T, mdt being the same style of test that athletes have to undertake however this is expensive. My point is that in an ideal world it would be nice to run drug free wings with all the help possible but in reality the government wont fund it. Thats what it boils down to, MONEY. The average high profile prisoner costs the state approx £40000 a year to keep in prison. Incidentally most local jails have a re offending rate of around 85%. Unfortunately prison has become a soft way of life for most and not a deterrent. Lets face it someone coming to prison with a drug habit has access to treatment (free of charge), if Methadone does cause tooth decay they can see a dentist quite quickly (free of charge) and see a G.P whenever they want. Because mobile phones are smuggled in, then the career criminals can still run there illegal businesses from the inside, dealing etc. Yes cold turkey is an option but having dealt with people going cold turkey for quite a few years its not been a nice experience for me, especially when someone unintentionally defecates on you and then you have to deal immediately with leg ulcers as big as your hand splitting and bleeding everwhere. Its not nice for the staff. I still cant understand why someone wants to pump illegal chemicals into there body. All I can say is that I hope the buzz is better than the feeling of having to inject into the groin area when all other available veins have broken down. Fri 11 Dec 2009 17:08:19 GMT+1 Paul Unfortunately this article and a lot of the information that I have seen associated with it is woefully ill-informed. Lets have a look at some of the the points that have been made around this issue:The substantial rise in the number of prisoners receiving methadone - this is hardly surprising given the fact that only over the past two years has this treatment become available in the majority of prisons. In response to the need to address the treatment needs of prisoners the Integrated Drug Treatment System has made or is on the way to making methadone available in all prisons whether that be for the purposes of assisiting detoxification or maintenance to avoid clients overdosing when they come out of prison.Human Rights - a number of the less enlightened commentators here have referred to Human Rights as though they are an inconvenience where prisoners are concerned. Whether you ageee with that or not there is a simple fact that in the past two years there have been a number of successful legal actions taken against the Government for previously not having treatment available in prisons that are avaialble in the community (e.g. methadone) and the suffering that this caused. Treatment provision in prisons had to be extended and had to start to attmept to offer what the community does.Mark Easton's scientific approach to gathering information - So four people in a drug rehab centre in Burton, that obviously is representative of prisoner experiences across the country. I think not, especially when it is likely that many people in that centre are likely to have been to one or two prisons (where you go to a large degree depends on where you are from) so those reports tell us nothing about the prison system as a whole. Anyone who has read 'Bad Science' by Ben Goldacre will be seeing a new chapter for that book emerging.Methadone can rot your teeth - Outstanding Mark! Top effort of attmepting to disseminate misinformation. I think I will let you go away and look into this a bit more rather than go on to explain how ill-informed this is. Most of the things we eat and drink have the potential to rot our teeth if we have poor dental hygiene. This is the key not the consumption of a particular substance. The battle between the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health for control - I think this is overly dramatic. All the time in Government there are discussions about which department is best placed to handle certain things. Personally if I was sick i would go to the Doctors not to the police, just a thought. No doubt there is still some work to do to increase the full range of services on offer in prisons, but even in the community there traditionally has been a greater focus on achieving stabilisation intially then looking to abstinence. That makes sense to me. The idea that forcing people to become abstinent in prison will mean they come out all ready to face the life without drugs and won't re-offend etc. is nonsense, that is essentially what has been happening for the last 25 years since heroin use really exploded in this country and it has not meant that everyone who goes into prison comes out magically back on track, re-offending rates are still high. As per usual rigour and perspective are two aspects of reporting that our media have failed to utilise. Fri 11 Dec 2009 13:46:49 GMT+1 leverett It would be very interesting to understand from Mike Pattinson what has happened to the 300 Isle of Sheppey Cluster inmates that have been detoxed since April. Are they now in a drug-free wing, where they are regularly tested to ensure continued abstinence from all drugs? Have they been given group therapy and other support such as 12-step meetings to help them to remain abstinent by tackling underlying issues? Thu 10 Dec 2009 19:01:06 GMT+1 Damon Barrett For a good rebuttal to this story, see 'European human rights monitors contradict BBC 'methadone madness' reporting' Thu 10 Dec 2009 17:08:36 GMT+1 Steve - Iver 12. At 10:33am on 09 Dec 2009, Bowmore wrote:"...A lot of prisoners will use ontop of the methadone with any substancies they get hold of...It is not possible to rehabillitate a person who does not wish to change..."Very true - Methadone does not inhibit the opiate receptors and so although it will mitigate the effects of heroin withdrawal, it stops there. A much better (in my very most humble opinion) treatment is Buprenorphine (marketed in the UK as Subutex). This pharmaceutical drug is used for severe pain relief as well as heroin detox, and it mimics the whole heroin drug with the exception of the pleasure heroin brings. It latches onto the opiate receptors in the brain and blocks any other substance from reaching them. The tablet form comes as a sublingual soluble, which should be placed under the tongue for around 2 - 8 minutes, whilst it dissolves - dependent on the size of dose. Once in the system, it blocks the opiate receptors (hence it's called an opiate blocker) and any attempt to use heroin for the next 36 hours will be fruitless, and can, in higher doses, make the user sick, as in 'withdrawal'. It is normally administered, under medical supervision at first, every 24 hours. Week by week, the dosage is reduced and a £20 per day heroin user can become drug free in 4 to 6 months. Of course, it's not that simple and that is why drug dependence in the UK comes under the Mental Health Act. Buprenorphine is expensive, but treatment can be administered supervised. Along with any substitute, there MUST be a program of dependence counsel to accompany and encourage the medication treatment. As you said, no-one can be helped who doesn't want help.23. At 12:57pm on 09 Dec 2009, LuftHamza wrote:lots and lots of good stuff - I agree with you sir. I think what we need to look at here, and it seems that the Swiss may be heading in the right direction, is to understand what's going on at a higher level. When we see a heroin user, most people (not just the morally correct or tunnel visioned), but most people see a stereotypical view of a junkie, which is just simply crass. Why is that person using heroin? Ask. Listen. Ask more. Understand. Treat. Treat the reason alongside the detox treatment, whatever that may be. As I've already written, Buprenorphine is an excellent treatment, but it must be administered medically and supervised to be effective, especially in the early term of detox. Counsellors, group and one-2-one therapy must also be available, to address the root-cause of heroin use. From my experience, from personal to friends, from acquaintences to strangers, most people I have know to have had a heroin addiction have done so because they have trouble dealing with something - some aspect of their life, whether that be a personal crisis of confidence, or voices in the head that need calming, there is ALWAYS an underlying cause, and that is the place to begin. Prison or civvy street, the means is the same to only one end. 'Cold Turkey' by the way, is unlikely to cause death - I'm sure any medics reading can corroborate or refute, but withdrawal from heroin has never caused death. Withdrawal from alcohol dependence, however, can be fatal. Anyway, cold-turkey is unpleasant, painful, and quite cruel. Whilst we have treatments like Subutex, mental-health experts and understanding counsellors available, I believe the combined, gradual rehabilitation process should be adopted across the board. Thu 10 Dec 2009 16:56:25 GMT+1 Peter_Sym My eye's were opened to this problem after a month working as a clinical biochemist in Glasgow.First time offenders with a drug problem were given a simple choice: jail or monitored methadone/addiction councilling. Suprise, suprise almost all chose methadone. We had to randomly take urine samples under 'chain of evidence' rules and check to make sure that the addicts were only taking their methadone.None were and most weren't even taking the methadone at all! Their urine samples showed up all sorts of weird and wonderful opiates, rat poison and huge quantities of caffiene (because when they found out a urine test was coming they'd drink ten cans of coke to try and dilute the sample).From this I learnt two things. Methadone doesn't work and 'Heroin' is usually anything but. People who can afford clean, medical grade drugs (like Keith Richards in the early 70's) can lead almost normal lives and stay remarkably healthy. The problem, and the crime, comes from the low grade and high price of street heroin. Supplying pharmaceutical grade heroin at modest profit and known dose to addicts might not be 'moral' according to the daily Mails warped code of morals and isn't problem free but it would be simpler, cheaper and more cost effective than any other scheme I've heard suggested. Thu 10 Dec 2009 11:33:56 GMT+1 Mike Pattinson IDTS was introduced to ensure that drug treatment provision within the prison estate met the same evidential standards and was of the same quality as community services. The investment into IDTS led to a significant expansion of clinical treatment and also of skilled drug workers delivering interventions that reduce harm and lead to uptake of detox and treatment programmes during imprisonment and also continuity of treatment upon release. Within remand prisoners - where people are held before conviction and often for very short periods of time the continuity of treatment can be critical in reducing harm and maintaining progress under their treatment regime.So relatively few prisoners "start" methadone or subutex upon imprisonment but many may continue on their prescriptions. For the convicted population the attention moves much more quickly onto detoxification. Our IDTS service operating within the Isle of Sheppey prison cluster has detoxed over 300 people since April this year. Thu 10 Dec 2009 10:14:31 GMT+1 Have your say Rejected If people can't stop drugs entering a locked box which is guarded what can be done. What incentive has someone who is in gaol got to give up illicit drugs. They spend 24 hrs in the same building with the same people so why are they going to stop doing the one thing that breaks up their daily routine the one thing that takes them out of their prison. Thu 10 Dec 2009 09:49:37 GMT+1 John1948 #32 and #34 I like it!It would be very cost effective. Our military expenditure would go down as the Afghans would see that it was in their interests to work with us. The Taliban would have a source of revenue cut. Western nations would be seen in a more positive light in the region.Heroin addiction would cease to be part of the drugs culture as it would no longer have that 'illegal' badge that is part of its attraction. If users are having to have contact with health professionals the rehab programme would be more readily available to those who were ready for it. Of course initially use would go up, but the lesson from our local chocolate factory proves that if you give people unlimited access to treats they soon stop.Daily Mail readers wouldn't like it, and that must be the idea's strongest recommendation. Thu 10 Dec 2009 06:45:42 GMT+1 John Ellis news but the UN says erradication is not an option so control must be the only option.but who will control it. Thu 10 Dec 2009 02:08:06 GMT+1 John Ellis To get someone totally drug free requires more than getting them clean and releasing them back in to the same environment with the same social pressures as the problem is still there.So you also have to look not just at short term help but long term help, this has to be done to keep the client away from the harms of old friends and social circles. So you already look at a high percent of failure and cost because drugs are freely available, treatment is so strict as well once outside many fail to keep 'clean' and so loose methadone scripts or have it reduced.hostels we have 2 locally for addicts and 2 halfway houses for ex prisoners. The shame is they don't quite work as they are meant to for a lot of the clients. Why local dealers see to that.Also within all this talk of curing these people and making useful people of them, many of them are so institutionalised that no other life can be lived without long term social care for them.So as everyone would agree what we call 'drug free' cant be achieved without massive sources of revenue, were not talking millions to fix this problem but billions to fix this little problem we have in keeping people clean. Not just in the UK but world wide as we try to keep heroin and cocaine of our street's, but every year it rises. This notion that by keeping a prison free of drugs your going to win a decisive victory against the drug dealers is nothing but a headline, the drug trade does not work like that.some findings on drug education Wed 09 Dec 2009 23:44:35 GMT+1 jon112dk 40. At 5:27pm on 09 Dec 2009, leverett wrote:"Drug-free prisons or even prison wings are definitely needed, as is ensuring that all abstinent prisoners are released to drug-free hostels, houses or, even better, secondary treatment. "================Absolutely agree - there's a sort of defeatism about what can be acheived. Who says drugs have to be readily available in jail?If someone was drug free for an extended period of time then that is an oportunity for them. A percentage will take that oportunity and stay drug free. As you suggest, some would need money spending on them once released, but it would probably be a tiny amount compared with what repeated police/court/prison episodes cost. Wed 09 Dec 2009 19:49:17 GMT+1 leverett Methadone maintenance is not treatment, but merely substituting one illegal and addictive substance for another legally obtained highly addictive one. Methadone isn’t even a satisfying drug, because it doesn't change the way a person feels, but merely stops withdrawal. It is therefore unlikely to be an addict's sole intake - certainly, I have yet to come across an addict on a methadone script that has not taken other drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, withdrawal from Methadone is at least as difficult and uncomfortable for the addict as withdrawal from their opiate of choice.Methadone maintenance doesn't significantly increase employability (should not drive/operate heavy machinery, may not be fully compos mentis immediately after medication is taken, may make health issues worse especially Hep C, limits ability to travel etc.); and it does not offer a new way of life or new associations, all of which are critical to a sustained recovery. It should therefore be seen as the absolute last resort, and only prescribed in prison for those who have been receiving maintenance prescriptions in the community while they are on remand. Once sentenced, all addicts should undertake detoxification, which from opiates should be a matter of one or two weeks. This is not currently happening. Indeed, quite the reverse is true.If you offer most addicts a choice between a prescription and abstinence-based treatment, it doesn't take much imagination or insight to know what they will choose, and that this is clearly reflected in the take-up of abstinence-based programmes now that prescribing levels have gone through the roof with the new NHS-led IDTS. It also doesn't address the problems for those with crack or other non-opiate addictions including alcoholism, so proper rehabilitative treatment needs to be made available and encouraged for those prisoners, unless we are proposing to offer them a new opiate addiction as an alternative! The NHS (and NTA) seem to believe that many/most addicts are not ready for/capable of following a 12-step abstinence based model, but this belies the fact that the abstinence-based 12-step programme of NA is now available in 170 towns in the UK, which collectively have over 700 meetings, (quite apart from the even more significant AA provisions that are available and the replication of this phenomenon on a global scale). Almost everyone attending NA meetings either was or could have been caught up in the criminal justice system by dint of the fact that they had been users of illegal substances. I believe that there are currently 150,000 men and women on methadone scripts in the UK, all of whom are therefore being condemned to a life outside mainstream society, with limited chance of employability, and one of dependence on the NHS. While there is talk of treatment choice, there is not only very limited provision of abstinence based treatment in prison, but also in the community. Last year I noted that in one northern town with a population of 250,000 approx, there was only 1 detox bed for the whole area, which was recently increased by 100% to 2 beds! So it is disingenuous for the authorities to claim that almost all addicts are being given Methadone to detoxify, and that if it is not occurring in prison, it will later be done in the community. Only if we were to start to see an appropriate proportion of detox beds and abstinence-based treatment places to the number of Methadone prescriptions, will this statement have any validity. On the Today programme last year, Paul Hayes of the NTA was challenged on the small number of people who are in real recovery (i.e. abstinent). I was therefore unsurprised to learn that the NTA at a subsequent conference sought to change the definition of recovery to include those on methadone maintenance. This morning's Today programme didn't even discuss the shocking issue of retoxifyng people. It is hard to believe, that some great minds have decided that those who have been fortunate enough to find their way to an abstinence-based programme in prison, and have been so committed to a new way of life that they have managed to avoid the temptations that a prison awash with drugs creates, should be encouraged/pushed to get re-addicted prior to release, and that this now appears on some prisoners' release plans. Now there is a real Human Rights abuse! Retoxification is deemed to be the most constructive answer that the powers that be have to addressing the problems of overdosing upon release. It shows that they don't understand that overdosing upon release is a failure of resettlement and a failure to place released prisoners in secondary and/or safe accommodation. Over 60% of the prisoners on abstinence-based prison programmes are either unsure of where they will live on release or know that they will be of No Fixed Abode, and will not be released on licence, therefore they have no guaranteed hostel place or other place to go. It is therefore hardly surprising that the discharge grant of £46.75 (or £94.40 for the homeless) is often spent on drugs/alcohol. If you then add to the mix that (according to NACRO's figures) it frequently takes up to 6 weeks and sometimes longer before a released prisoner can receive any benefits, and of course, benefits only apply to those who can provide an address, it is hard to see how a prisoner, however well-motivated to remain abstinent and crime-free, will achieve these goals. Indeed, one might say that the system actively encourages recidivism, as I, for one, would not be able to live for 6 weeks on £46.75. Most graduates of abstinence based programmes in custody say that they would want to go into a secondary residential rehab upon release, and a further 20% would want to go on a day programme, but there are so few places available, and funding is difficult to source. Access to funding is, of course, made worse by NFA prisoners, who are released far from where they may have lived in the past or been sentenced, as it is hard to find any authority willing to take responsibility for them/ provide funding. Less than one-third of those that are lucky enough to find such placements, according to research, were reconvicted within two-years.Drug-free prisons or even prison wings are definitely needed, as is ensuring that all abstinent prisoners are released to drug-free hostels, houses or, even better, secondary treatment. Only then will we know that the authorities are looking to support recovery from addiction, rather than the hopelessness of addiction to Methadone. Wed 09 Dec 2009 17:27:25 GMT+1 ianthepain The pathologist at my sons inquest in 2006 said he died due to a methadone overdose ( he further stated that prisoners were being put in a vunerable position, by being taken of methadone in prison, he explained that a person on methadone before imprisonment would be at risk if on release they resumed methadone at their previous dosage. Many ex prisoners had died for the same reason as my son he said) my son on his release into a mental facility stated to the hospital staff, that Heron was easily available in a high security prison. Drugs treatment for ages has been a mess, I was told that fast track rehab of any kind was a revolving door policy, addicts out the door clean and back in again within months. Every so often a new tsar or expert turns up and claims he has found a magic rehab cure. Some people may have an addiction problem for life and as such may need medication for the rest of their lives. Wed 09 Dec 2009 17:06:51 GMT+1 clamdip lobster claws Oh my God another drug debate. Mark what is it about you and drugs? Wed 09 Dec 2009 16:59:37 GMT+1 DannyKushlick Why are we focusing on such a tiny group of 'addicts'? There are only 300 000 problematic heroin and crack users in the UK and only 40 000 in prison.What say we make tobacco illegal? It's very dangerous, kills half all long term users prematurely. Eight million 'addicts' in the UK alone. Plenty more 'addicts' world wide. Let's ban it.Oh dear, we've just gifted the trade to the Mafia, the price has increased to a level where we've economically and politically destabilised producer and transit countries, but let's carry on, it's got to be worth it, to reduce 'addiction'... Oh dear now dependent users are prostituting themselves and stealing to support a tobacco habit and now they're in prison. Let's set up the prison treatment agencies to deal with all the 'addicts' inside. I tell you what, let's give them patches. No, that's terrible because we want them to be tobacco free and we want our jails to be tobacco free...Oh dear, now prisoners are getting hooked on patches when they come out. No problem let's have tobacco free prisons and refer loads more tobacco addicts to residential rehab and develop more services to help prisoners to become tobacco free.Yes, we could do all that, or we could just let them buy it from shops, so that they don't have to come into contact with the criminal justice system and deal with it as a regulation and public health issue. And let's focus on improving human wellbeing so that people don't buy what big tobacco sells them and find more interesting drugs or other more more intersting activities...Tell you what, let's make alcohol illegal...At some point we are going to have to get drugs out of the criminal justice and put them into normative policy settings where we can see them for what they are. And more importantly get the users, dealers, traffickers and producers out of the criminal justice system. This is about people, not drugs. It is about international development, security and rights. Methadone in prison is a distraction, fluff. For more grist visit Transform at more on the efficacy of methadone prescribing see: Wed 09 Dec 2009 16:52:18 GMT+1 steve This post has been Removed Wed 09 Dec 2009 16:27:58 GMT+1 John Ellis They funded it in several US states yup they will grow cannabis for the USA government in future funding rounds SO.... Wed 09 Dec 2009 16:23:35 GMT+1 Peter_Sym #32. I agree. Personally I'd pay the Afghans for ALL their poppy and dump what we don't need in the sea. It would put the dealers here out of business, cut off the Talibans income and the poppy farmers might like our troops more if we're giving them hard cash. Wed 09 Dec 2009 16:22:04 GMT+1 Peter_Sym #31. Not really. Opiates cost nothing to make and sell for virtually nothing either. There's actually a shortage of medical grade heroin because its so unprofitable for the pharmaceutical companies. They make their money on new, patented, therapies like herceptin not stuff extracted from plants that have been around for thousands of years. The biggest problem is that (as a rule... there are always exceptions) the best 50% of doctors pass their MRCP and stay in hospital medicine, the other 50% (or those who want an easier life) become GP's and the tiny handful so poor they can't get a job either in a hospital or as a GP become prison doctors. The standard of medical care in most prisons are victorian. Prisoners die of very minor illnesses like diabetes because the care is so poor. Prisons simply do not have the facilities or the staff to have hundreds of people going cold turkey. No wonder they just give them methadone... it shuts them up and keeps them from causing trouble. Wed 09 Dec 2009 16:20:26 GMT+1 General_Jack_Ripper I wonder how much cheaper it would be if we just bought Heroin from the Afghan farmers and then supplied it free to addicts ?Just think how much crime we'd prevent if addicts weren't stealing to pay for their addiction.As for prisoners who are also addicted, personally, I believe we should have properly funded secure residential rehabilitation centres that they should have to attend until they are clean.Regardless of whether it took a month or five years to become drug free would not effect their sentence, the rehabilitation process would have to be successfully completed, no matter how long it took.Then, and only then, would they be sent to prison to complete their full sentence.Should they fail a drugs test while in prison they would be sent back to the rehabilitation centre and the process would start again.Sending addicts to prison is not a punishment and it does not help them to get off their addiction. All we’re doing is spending vast amounts of money on a system that has proven over the years to be unworkable. Wed 09 Dec 2009 15:21:52 GMT+1 Jan The drugs (sorry pharmaceutical) companies and their shareholders (sorry our pension funds) must be laughing all the way to the bank..... Wed 09 Dec 2009 14:19:43 GMT+1 Ernie #29 jon112uk - "Personally I would ditch the human rights act and do it anyway."The ECHR has let us, the people, win some historic victories against the government of this country. The fact that it lets others that the public at large despise stand up for their rights too, well I consider it a great thing. Rights should be for everyone.That said, that case was definitely bordering the ridiculous. Wed 09 Dec 2009 14:09:36 GMT+1 jon112dk #23any talk of vending machines is utter rubbish.Never said the vending machines were in Switzerland. My recollection is that it was a scheme in wales to supply syrnges/needles and the suggestion was to expand it to drugs.====================================26. At 1:02pm on 09 Dec 2009, CommunityCriminal wrote:(drug free prisons)"hahaha whos going to fund that get real"They funded it in several US states - and those are people who have prisoners living in tents in the desert to save money. It's more about procedures than huge spending. Closed visits would actually be cheaper than supervising open visitng rooms once the infrastructure has been paid for. If there is a problem, the people talking about human rights are probably nearer the mark. ECHR, art 8 would be engaged (right to private and family life). Question is whether a court would consider the interference with visits was 'proportionate' Personally I would ditch the human rights act and do it anyway. Wed 09 Dec 2009 13:57:38 GMT+1 Rick Rutkowski First things first, in monetary terms methadone is not a cheap option. In human suffering and drug related death terms it is a small price to pay. The rates of self harm and suicide by opiate dependent prisoners might point towards why 'harm reduction' in prisons is sensible and popular. In the past prisoners (I speak with personal experience) had to know the prison staff, doctors etc to be able to get onto the sick queue the morning after arriving and then had to use all the manipulative skills one possessed to get 4-5 days methadone, if the prison doctor prescribed at all. This system resulted in prisoners kicking off, defecating and vommiting in their cells and often being punished by being put into a 'stripped cell' and pumped full of largactyl. To me, this regime was barbaric and ultimately psychologically damaging. What we have now is a more clinically sound approach with clear harm reduction rationales. Each prisoner (read human being) has the choice to either take medications for longer or shorter periods of time and although assisting motivation to change is an essential role of drug treatment professionals, many drug users are not ready to make significant change whilst in prison. Lastly, the aim of creating a seamless transition between being on medication in prison and receiving a prescription in the community is to reduce drug related deaths, not to set ex-prisoners up to commit more crime and use illicit street drugs. That is a personal choice and not a cause and effect of either the DOH or the Ministry For Justice. Wed 09 Dec 2009 13:23:24 GMT+1 Ernie #26 Community Criminal"hahaha whos going to fund that get reallast time it was forced the government lost out under human rights acts."I agree on the funding thing, which is annoying because it's a false economy.But IIRC the (potential? real?) human rights act violation was that their rehab process was just cut off and they went through cold turkey unassisted and in pain. A rapid, medically supervised detox program should get past this. Wed 09 Dec 2009 13:18:07 GMT+1 John Ellis I would like to see the 'drug free prison' approach trialled. At the end of a spell in prison we would have people coming out having been drug free for a prolonged period, whether they wanted to or not. hahaha whos going to fund that get reallast time it was forced the government lost out under human rights acts. Wed 09 Dec 2009 13:02:58 GMT+1 Laurence Interesting. Is this the same Mike Trace who was quoted by Johann Hari in 2004 saying the following?'Mike Trace, the former deputy drugs tsar and an international expert on harm reduction, explains: "There's a huge amount of research - so conclusive that it is not even disputed - that methadone prescription can have a spectacular impact on both the health and social functioning of an opiate-user and on the wider crime rate. The recent Swiss experiment - where they have begun at a national level to prescribe heroin to anyone who needs it - seems to indicate that heroin prescription can be even more effective."'See it here Wed 09 Dec 2009 13:01:59 GMT+1 John Ellis Cantankerous well said on the last part however as a lot of heroin addicts find out. no one outside the culture they belong to care so as a result many fall straight back into old habits.Its a problem that needs to be dealt with at the core of society. Current thinking pushed them back into the same lifestyle because there is not the financial support to sustain these projects.alcohol and smoking and fat people all contribute to the illness caused via taxation, so the is sufficient money in local PCT's to run support programs.Long term addiction to methadone is not the answer. Wed 09 Dec 2009 12:58:24 GMT+1 Carl Showalter @Gothnet #16as a resident in Switzerland I can confirm all the positive connotations associated with clinics prescribing heroin to medically certified addicts. there is such a clinic no more than 10 minutes from my house. since the clinic was opened, associated crime in the quarter has dropped by some 95%. dealing has also vanished from the area. this was originally conceived as a government pilot project over a decade ago, which last year was cemented into government legislature and made nationwide due to it's overwhelming success.the Swiss government has accepted the fact that there will always be addicts, whether you use the stick or the carrot or the firing squad. there's nothing that can be done to stop it. all you can do is try to manage the problem as best as possible in the interests of the general public. the most cost-effective way of doing this is to treat addiction as a serious illness and afford the addicts that level of care. with a proper level of care and control over the purity of drugs, you get the knock-on effect that overdoses, HIV, Hepatitis etc. are under control, alleviating the pressure on the health services.any talk of vending machines is utter rubbish.The UK government on the other hand is not acting in the best interests of the UK public. it's hard to see who's interests the UK government is acting in, because as far as I can see, the only people getting any benefit out of UK drugs policy are construction firms (building prisons) and prison guard training establishments. the general public get a bum deal because the associated crime isn't managed and they foot the tax bill for policing and health services, the addicts get a bum deal because they're not being rehabilitated and everyone gets a bum deal because no beneficial progress is being made in any direction.I fully expect people to come out and complain that under the Swiss model they're funding the addictions of others and why should they bother when they can simply become a junkie and give up. while it is true that under the UK model you're not paying for the addiction, you're actually paying for far more. a lot of money for a little spite in the end - a good deal? Wed 09 Dec 2009 12:57:55 GMT+1 Ernie #20 jon112ukYup, I can't disagree. Much as I am in favour of a mass overhaul of drug policy in the UK, including legalising some drugs and decriminalising other, I don't see any reason why that shouldn't be tried.Particularly if there were a set of prisons that did this (maybe too pricy to implement everywhere?) and criminals with any history of addiction or drug-related aggravating factor were sent to those. Wed 09 Dec 2009 12:56:00 GMT+1 jobsw32 I have a strange story to tell about drugs and I don't expect anyone to believe it but it's how I managed to avert a crisis happening to me when somebody who was living in my block was in withdrawal. Well this girl she was a bit strange these users they aren't vicious by nature even if they can be a bit sort of er assertive but she was having a full blown drink and need hit going out of my head episode and rowing with her boyfriend and somehow they ended up in my flat. Well I was beside myself and I just didn't know what to do because I could see a row happening and thought maybe someone was going going to get hurt. they didn't have any money for electricity and all their lights were out.In the event I made the girl a coffee, because the strange thought came into my mind that she would probably sleep it off. They had been drinking and I thought insanely that if she had a coffee she would drop off.And the even stranger thing was she drank the coffee and staggered out saying she felt sleepy and her boyfriend left as well. and I didn't even get stabbed or anything! wow. Well I figured eventually they would disappear from my life and sooner or later they did. I was in a bit of a fix I wanted to do the flashing blue light thing and have them certed off but I was thinking well it just doesn't work like that and if they thought I was doing something to them like 'grassing' they probably would take a dislike to me.Well I have had the police attend the odd event round my way but this one thought was likely to lead to reprisals so I just muddled through.They were burning the candle at both ends and were going to hit a crisis eventually and I thought the odds were on they would be mopped up by what's out there already.One more scrape for the diary. I do not think that everyone should attempt to help heroin users in withdrawel but I just found myself in a situation that life had thrown at me. What works for one may not work for another people are different and maybe you have to find what works for them rather than thinking that everyone can follow a set regimen.Same with kebab shops. I mean everyone likes raw onions but i always have to ask for no onions and the guy doesn't always understand and just automatically puts onions on it. It's just more effort to say salad no onions (please) rather than just salad. such a hassle that I just gave up buying kebabs. It seemed to annoy people. Well that's life as they say!Addiction, chemicals, food, well it's all a matter of taste, to my mind what you want. Somehow you just have to figure out that you aren't going to die without raw onions or 'drug of choice here'. Wed 09 Dec 2009 12:52:16 GMT+1 jon112dk 16. At 11:40am on 09 Dec 2009, Gothnet....Both the swiss heroin clinics and the vending machine idea (it works on tokens given to the addicts, not pound coins your kids could use) have been discussed on here. Some people were in favour. Personally I thought it was fairly obvious you would have all the problems Mark discusses in this entry - and more seeing that it is in the community therefore less controlled.I would like to see the 'drug free prison' approach trialled. At the end of a spell in prison we would have people coming out having been drug free for a prolonged period, whether they wanted to or not. How many would want to deliberately restart after several months/years drug free? It would be interesting to see what percentage could be kept off drugs - particularly if simple, relevant support was provided just before and then after release. Wed 09 Dec 2009 12:39:51 GMT+1 Cantankerous Ok, if the Government drugs adviser says that the drugs are really not as bad for you as we've been led to believe (less harmful than alcohol or tobacco) and methadone is cheap. Why don't we provide it both in prisons and when the inmates are released? This would mean that we get fewer problems in the prisons, and then when they leave, they don't have to commit further crimes to support their drug habit. This means they are less likely to re-offend (so less crime, less policing costs and fewer future prison inmates). We also take a source of income away from the drug supply chain (dealers, smugglers, growers) as they have less of a market to sell to (why would you commit crime to buy drugs off criminals if you can get them for free). This would also reduce the income available to terrorists to fund their activities. We could even pay the Afghan farmers directly so giving them a legal source of income rather than relying on aid. We would then not have to pay for troops to be out there.Use market economics to make the world a better place and give free drugs (or clinical equivalents) in prison and on release. In this post credit crunch world, should we explore this as a more cost effective option. Wed 09 Dec 2009 12:36:15 GMT+1 watriler Incidently the current prison population is over 84,000 with 20:1 ratio of men to women.The only justification for dishing out methadone is that it is part of a pre designed programme to exit the addition to drugs. Although there would be net gains to society it is clear there are insufficient resources for supporting all the viable programmes. Wed 09 Dec 2009 12:13:01 GMT+1 John Ellis MERRY XMAS Wed 09 Dec 2009 12:06:43 GMT+1 Ernie #9 jon112ukThese are separate issues, both related to the amount of harm we as a society inflict on each other and ourselves.Keeping addicts addicted is no help to anyone except maybe a prison system that just wants to process people in and out with the minimum of fuss. Rehabilitating them cuts down the re-offence rate and thus the ongoing cost to society. This is desirable.The idea of decriminalising heroin and making it available to addicts is complementary to this. If addicts can get their fix without having to rob people, shoplift, whatever, then we can reduce the harm to society that way too.I wholeheartedly agree that we must weigh up the effects of having this stuff more available, but in the end it's my opinion that the violence and aquisitive crime that we have now could be brought down by treating this whole area more sensibly and rationally, rather than first making a moral judgement and then prescribing that all people who use "drugs" are bad, dangerous and evil.The Swiss model is to make them clients of the hospital, not to put vending machines out on the street, (AFAIK). That's just ludicrous... Wed 09 Dec 2009 11:40:22 GMT+1 Simon Ward Let them go through cold-turkey in prison. If the heroin was the cause of their crimes then the withdrawal can be part of the punishment. Then they will think twice about resuming heroin and a criminal lifestyle on release.If the human rights brigade objects, then you can at least use other pharmaceutical/non-addictive drugs to relive the effects of cold-turkey, i.e. rapid detox treatment.The idea of replacing one addictive drug with another addictive drug just seems ridiculous. An alarming percentage of crimes are related to hard drug addiction, and if the prison service is going to do anything to rehabilitate then it has to get them off drugs altogether. Wed 09 Dec 2009 11:15:42 GMT+1 John Ellis Wed 09 Dec 2009 10:42:32 GMT+1 John Ellis living amongst many different drug users in our community I can say its all total rubbishThe whole system is corrupt to the core, methadone is twice as addictive as heroin.Still that's nothing to worry about is it.Al qaeda have moved out of the heroin business in to the coke trade in west Africa.10 jon112uk'If suitable long term re-hab measures were in place - particularly on release - this sounds like a much more sensible approach.'WOW what planet are you on, the same as gordo?how about this seems my comment at No1 seems to get the public vote on how to deal with drugs in the UK when we or the USA will invade west Africa to rescue the hostages Al Qaeda have been taking. Wed 09 Dec 2009 10:38:50 GMT+1 Bowmore It costs more like £100million per year to run this treatment program in prisons and this is a maintainance program for the duration of the prisoners stay.Some prisoners state that when they are released they not only have the heroin habit that they entered prison with but also a methadone habit aswell. A lot of prisoners will use ontop of the methadone with any substancies they get hold of, (legally or illegally). Prisons are rife with drugs and the problem is getting worse. Going "Cold Turkey" is an option, I havent known anyone to die by doing this but I dare say it has happened in the past, however it is now against there "Human Rights" to allow this to happen. It is not possible to rehabillitate a person who does not wish to change there life around and lots of prisoners like the way they are. Prisons are overcrowded and understaffed. Understaffed by unified grades that is, meaning that the basic security of prisons is not the best it should be. Wed 09 Dec 2009 10:33:02 GMT+1 Ministry of Justice Statement from Ministry of Justice and Department of Health:In prisons, methadone is only used for the treatment of drug dependency and all candidates for it are assessed and treated by medical professionals. It is categorically untrue to say methadone is used as any sort of control mechanism. Decisions regarding treatment are clinically based and the NHS commissions health services for people in prisons.The Integrated Drug Treatment System (IDTS) being brought in across prisons provides evidence-based treatment tailored to the needs of the prisoner. The programme includes abstinence, but all treatments are aimed at getting the person off drugs.The rise in prisoners getting methadone treatment means more prisoners are getting the treatment they need and there has been significant investment in prison clinical drug treatment to help this happen. Methadone treatment helps to reduce the risk of infections from blood-borne viruses; the risk of suicide, especially in the early period in custody; accidental drugs-related overdose on release from prison, and helps to cut crime by reducing re-offending. From April 2009, all adult prisons received funding (£39.7m from DH, £6m from MOJ) for the implementation of the enhanced clinical drug treatment and psychosocial components of IDTS.Most prison methadone prescribing is for detoxification not maintenance purposes; this is the prescribed management of withdrawal of a pre-set duration by a prison doctor, with the goal of becoming drug free. The independent UKDPC report Reducing Drug Use, Reducing Reoffending (March 2008) states that in 2007/08 detoxification made up 79 per cent of the prescribing interventions and methadone maintenance 21 per cent. Methadone maintenance is aimed at drug dependent offenders on short sentences and on remand for harm reduction purposes. The majority of drug users who commit acquisitive crime are in prison for short periods, often a matter of weeks.Those on long sentences would not be placed on methadone maintenance programmes, guidelines are clear about this. Wed 09 Dec 2009 10:32:38 GMT+1 jon112dk Serious idea....In the US they now have 'drug free prisons' ie. they ramp up the security and testing until they can actually demonstrate the prison has no drugs, sometimes including tobacco.This needs things like closed visits, high tech scanners, and strong measures against staff corruption (stopping staff bringing drugs in would be a key measure in the UK). Inmates are then subject to serious testing regimes, including tests which are hard to evade such as hair and saliva tests. ALL new inmates who are going to suffer withdrawl get a rapid de-tox under medical supervision, then straight on to the drug free regime.If suitable long term re-hab measures were in place - particularly on release - this sounds like a much more sensible approach. Wed 09 Dec 2009 09:36:24 GMT+1 jon112dk Hang on a minute - wasn't it on this blog a while back where I was being told what a great idea it was to dish out free drugs to addicts ? (Swiss model and talk of vending machines outside welsh police stations I recall) Now the government has actually started doing it and you can see the (obvious) problems. Wed 09 Dec 2009 09:28:50 GMT+1 John The drugs set up in prisons is a farce! Having had a small stint for her majesty, these boys know exactly what they are doing, they get high do their crime, get caught then come into prison, clean up and go back out.In my short time inside is saw the same faces out and back in within days.The reason they use methodone is it's cheap! The other alternative is subutex tablet, which most of them hold under their tongue, to crush and snort later...hell i've seen them crushing neurofen so they could snort it or sell it.The whole issue of drugs rehab is beyond redemption in this country, what we need to do is stop it coming into the country. This can be easily done by either bringing the troops out of a unwinable war and having real border control, or instead of throwing billions of pounds at the banks, throuw billions at a real border force! Wed 09 Dec 2009 09:01:46 GMT+1 Angela Jones While not defending the lack of effective drug counselling in prison, it is very dangerous to criticise methadone prescribing per se. You did not mention the tragic toll of ex-prisoners who die of heroin overdose shortly after their release, having lost their tolerance to opiates due to detoxification in jail. Recovery from heroin addiction is a very long process and not one that is easily undertaken in the context of a prison sentence which involved frequent and unannounced moves around the country. It is far safer to, with the prisoners consent, titrate onto methadone and arrange for safe transfer to an addiction service in the community. Attempting rehabilitation from drugs in prison would require a fundamental change in the whole penal system as it operates for drug using criminals. Until that happens, do not criticise medical practices which aim to stabilise prisoners who are misusing substances chaotically whilst in so-called secure environments. Wed 09 Dec 2009 08:10:04 GMT+1 John1948 It all boils down to money. Which is the cheapest way to deal with addicts who go to prison?Way 1 - give them relatively cheap substitutes which will result in their reoffending when they return to the streets. Followed by rather expensive incarceration AGAIN.Way 2 - get them to go through rehabilitation whilst in prison - quite expensive, followed by greatly reduced levels of reoffending, provided that there is follow up support once they leave prison - not cheap either.However Way 2 is still going to be cheaper than Way 1 with the added benefit that crime levels would be slightly reduced, some families will be reunited and more stable. The overall cost to the nation would be reduced by following Way 2However Way 1 puts costs onto the Justice Department and Way 2 puts costs onto the Health Department. In times of tightening departmental budgets there are going to be more inter departmental battles like this. Whist ministers will be looking at cuts within their own departments, my suspiscion is that the greatest waste is where two or more departments have to work side by side.Whilst it would be easy to reduce this to yet another example of Labour Government inefficiency, I do not believe that previous Tory administartions would score too highly either. The problem lies at the heart of our Civil Service. It is a series of independant ministries which want to promote their own interests rather than those of the nation as a whole. Can you imagine a Civil Servant saying to someone from another ministry, "I know if we do this, it will cost my department a lot of money. But it will save yours some money and it may end up being cheaper overall. It means we will have to make cuts elsewhere."My solution would be to ask the National Audit Office to look at these overlap areas and to come up with solutions. The audit would be of more than financial matters. It would be headed by a minister of Senior Cabinet Rank. My hope would be that warring ministries would then start working together for the benefit of the country rather than for the benefit of themselves. Wed 09 Dec 2009 08:05:33 GMT+1 calongo Is it not the case that prisons have a purpose to rehabilitate whilst removing the personal liberty of the offender? Simply providing methadone free achieves neither of these objectives. We need to understand why the prison population comprises so many addicts in the first place. At a time when the Governments own anti drug policy appears to be flapping in the wind it would be the perfect opportunity to start afresh. Simply providing addicts with free drugs has not reduced the number of addicts in society. This is why the prisons are full of addicts. They serve their sentences and are still addicts when released! Where is the rehabilitation? Wed 09 Dec 2009 05:50:56 GMT+1 32918 But what would be the consequences of curbing such methadone usage? Prisons are awash with drugs anyway. It would be no great difficulty for a prisoner to source his fix. How many inmates per year are treated by the NHS for an overdose whilst in custody? I suppose that handing out methadone so freely helps reduce more subversive activity. Wed 09 Dec 2009 03:00:57 GMT+1 clamdip lobster claws Criminal adddicts aren't treated in prison so that when they're released they go back and continue doing the same thing they've always done. If you allow mayhem to be perpetrated on innocent citizens they'll seek out the government for protection. That's why we live in such a degraded, unhealthy world. The government keeps the citizenry off kilter so that you're malleable and easily controlled. Wed 09 Dec 2009 01:41:09 GMT+1 BobRocket Methadone in prisons is used in the same way that Largactil (Chloropromazine) was used in mental institutions, to keep the inmates quiet.#1 Caledonian CommentCold turkey would be preferred by some of the inmates but it is not an option.Methadone is dished out because it's cheap. Wed 09 Dec 2009 00:18:39 GMT+1 CComment Would it not be simpler to employ a system whereby convicted prisoners are forced to undergo cold turkey ? Or would that punishment be counter to their human rights ? Caledonian Comment Tue 08 Dec 2009 23:33:00 GMT+1