Prisons could get new powers to test for NPS

Prisons could be handed new powers to test for psychoactive substances not currently prohibited by law – but one prisons expert has said the move was “based on a complete misunderstanding of reality”.

Prisoners can now only be tested for substances that are registered under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 – meaning many modern manufactured psychoactive drugs go unchecked.

Tory MP Bim Afolami told ministers in the Commons that the “cancer of drugs” like Spice needed to be “exorcised” from the system.

The Hitchin and Harpenden MP, proposing his Prisons (Substance Testing) Bill, said: “In order to add a newly formed manufactured psychoactive drug to a list of prohibited drugs the Government needs to manually add each and every psychoactive drug to that list.

“This can be very cumbersome, very time consuming and relatively easy for drug manufacturers and the chemical experts to get around the law and they do this by producing slightly different versions of such a psychoactive drug.”

Mr Afolami urged the Government to support his Bill, via a 10-minute rule motion, telling ministers it would “untie their hands” in the fight on drugs within prisons.

He added: “This Bill is very straightforward and very simple, it allows a generalised definition of psychoactive drugs, one provided by the Psychoactive Substance Act 2016.

“It allows it to be added to the statute book which will allow Her Majesty’s Prison Service to test prisoners for any and all psychoactive substances going forward, now and in the future.”

The Bill was listed for a second reading on July 6 but is unlikely to become law in its current form without Government support or sufficient parliamentary time.

But Mark Leech, editor of The Prisons Handbook for England and Wales said:

“I applaud their willingness to keep going back to this issue, it is vital they do as NPS drugs are a toxic chemical combination that have already claimed around 100 lives in our prisons – and have been responsible for tens of thousands of incidents of violence and self harm too.

“But widening the legal goalposts in this way, is not the solution and it is based on a complete misunderstanding of reality.

“The fact is that prisons can and do already test for NPS.

“Prisons now have around 300 drug dogs trained to sniff out NPS, and HMPPS have had powers to test prisoners for NPS since September 2016.

“Figures drawn from the HMPPS Incident Reporting System suggest there were just over 4000 incidents where psychoactive substances were found in prisons between August 2016 and July 2017 in England and Wales.

“Latest details of how many positive NPS tests there have been is due in July 2018, when HMPPS publishes its next Digest on the matter.”

source: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-09-04/6921/

Tobacco costs twice as much as Spice

erlestokePrisoners can buy the drug known as Spice at half the cost of illicit tobacco behind bars, an inspection report reveals.

Inmates at one jail described how the availability of drugs, coupled with a recently imposed smoking ban, had helped fuel a sense of “hopelessness”.

Spice – a synthetic substance that mimics the effects of cannabis – has been identified as a factor behind the surging levels of self-harm and violence that has gripped much of the prisons estate.

An assessment from HM Inspectorate of Prisons details the drug’s impact at HMPErlestoke, a category C training jail holding around 500 men in Wiltshire.

The report says: “Many prisoners we spoke to said that the availability of drugs, coupled with the recent smoking ban, had contributed to a widespread sense of hopelessness, and that it was difficult to maintain recovery in an atmosphere where so many other prisoners were regularly under the influence of Spice.

“Prisoners also told us that the price of Spice was around half of that for illicit tobacco, which encouraged more Spice use than we have seen in similar prisons recently.

“There were frequent medical emergencies, some very serious, resulting from Spice use, partly due to prisoners smoking Spice without diluting it with tobacco, as is common practice elsewhere.”

A ban on smoking in jails has been phased in since the beginning of last year. Figures released earlier this month showed that 66 establishments in England and Wales are now smoke-free.

Inspectors visited HMP Erlestoke in June and July and found there was “clear evidence” of the widespread use of alcohol and drugs.

Prisoner self-harming had doubled since the last inspection in 2013, and the number of reported violent incidents had gone up.

The watchdog also said it was concerned to find prisoners in a cell with a “significant hole” in the exterior wall.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said: “Safety in the prison was not good enough.

“Much of the violence and bullying that did exist was, in our view, linked to a significant drug problem, and yet the prison lacked an effective drug strategy.”

He added: “Overall, and despite our criticisms, we do report on much that was positive in the prison. The management team was relatively new and evidenced an enthusiasm to make improvements.

“There was a sense that with a little more organisation and consistency, and with a determination to ensure policies and rules are complied with, the prison could become much better quite quickly.”

Michael Spurr, chief executive of HM Prison & Probation Service, said: “As the chief inspector points out there is much positive work being done by staff at Erlestoke.

“The supply and use of illicit psychoactive drugs has undermined safety in the prison.

“The governor is working with partners including the police and treatment agencies to address this issue as a priority.

“We will use the recommendations in this report to improve performance at Erlestoke over the coming months.”

Mark Leech, editor of The Prisons Handbook said: “I am not surprised by this at all, in fact I am only surprised that others are surprised by it.

“The roll out of the smoking ban is well-intended, the disastrous health effects of smoking are incontrovertible, but it cannot be done in a vacuum – and the Ministry of Justice have been warned and warned about this.

“Now they have simply created another illegal currency in our prisons – get the message: creating new laws on trafficking in our prisons, backed by criminal sanctions are completely impotent when you are threatening to send people to prison who are actually already there.”

HMP Birmingham – Availability of Drugs Still Affecting Safety

HMP-Birmingham1The stability of HMP Birmingham was being adversely affected by the high volume of illicit drugs available, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Prison managers and staff were clearly committed to moving on and making progress after the disturbance last year, he added. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the local West Midlands jail.

HMP Birmingham holds a complex mix of prisoners and is characterised by a very high throughput, with around 500 new prisoners each month and an average stay of only six weeks. In December 2016 a major disturbance took place at the prison. Severe damage was caused to much of the more modern accommodation. Four wings were undergoing repairs at the time of the inspection and were not expected to be in use for some months. Following the disturbance, around 500 prisoners were moved out of the jail, leaving a population of over 900 to be housed in the older Victorian accommodation.

The inspection two months after this serious disturbance was not to enquire into events leading up to it, look for causal factors or comment on the handling of the disturbance. The decision to inspect was to establish the extent to which the prison was housing its remaining prisoners safely and decently and to see whether rehabilitative activity and resettlement work were being successfully delivered. It was also intended to give a snapshot of how the prison was performing in February 2017 to give the leadership a baseline from which they could plan the continuing recovery.

Inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • the safety and stability of the prison were being adversely affected by the high volume of illicit drugs, particularly new psychoactive substances;
  • 50% of prisoners said it was easy to get drugs, and as in so many prisons, drugs were giving rise to high levels of violence, debt and bullying;
  • the prison had a good drug supply reduction strategy and was working well with local police, but more needed to be done;
  • there was still too much inconsistency in the way poor behaviour was dealt with by staff;
  • despite a good range of education and training provision, not enough prisoners were able to take advantage of what was on offer and there was insufficient priority given to getting prisoners to their activities.

 

Inspectors were, however, pleased to find that:

  • there were many positive interactions between staff and prisoners and, in general, staff-prisoner relationships were respectful;
  • health care was generally good; and
  • the community rehabilitation company (CRC) was working better than in other jails.

 

Peter Clarke said:

“The leadership of the prison was clearly committed to meeting the many challenges presented by this large and complex establishment. The events of December 2016 had had a profound effect upon many members of staff. There was still, some two months later, a palpable sense of shock at the suddenness and ferocity of what had happened. Despite this, there was a very clear determination on the part of leadership and staff to move on from the disorder, rebuild and make progress.

“I am well aware that this report is likely to receive very close attention from many people who would like to understand the reasons for the riot. That is not the purpose of this report, and to attempt to use it in that way would be a mistake. This report is no more, and no less, than an account of the treatment of prisoners and the conditions in which we saw them being held during the period of the inspection.”

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of HM Prison & Probation Service, said:

“This report provides an overview of HMP Birmingham two months after the serious disturbance which took place on 16 December. The Chief Inspector rightly draws attention to the impact of the riot on prisoners and staff but describes a prison which is now ‘in recovery’ and making positive progress.

“There remains more to do to provide purposeful activity and to tackle violence and illicit drug use but the staff and the leadership team deserve credit for the commendable way they have responded to the challenges to date.

“We are determined to learn lessons from what happened at Birmingham and will work closely with G4S to achieve improvement. Additional staff are being recruited and G4S will use the recommendations in this report to drive progress over the coming months.”

A copy of the full report, published on 28 June, can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons

Ex-inmates deliberately getting sent back to jail to sell drugs report reveals

Legal-HighsFormer inmates are deliberately getting sent back to prison to cash in on lucrative profits on offer for selling drugs previously known as “legal highs”, according to a new report.

Prices for the substances can jump 33-fold once they cross into jails – providing prisoners with an incentive to go back behind bars to make money, researchers claimed.

A gram of synthetic cannabinoids, which mimic the effects of cannabis, can cost £3 on the outside but can fetch up to £100 when sold in prisons, the study said.

It claimed to have uncovered strong evidence that the licence recall system – under which offenders can be brought back to custody – was “routinely and systematically” abused to bring the drugs into prisons.

The paper, based on research conducted in an adult male prison in England, suggested that recently freed inmates committed minor infractions, such as missing probation meetings, in order to return to jail.

Prisoners reported being able to make £3,000 in four weeks by bringing in an ounce (28 grams) of synthetic cannabinoids.

One prisoner even claimed that another inmate had made £100,000 dealing the substances during a six-month sentence – although the report acknowledged that stated profits could be prone to exaggeration.

It detailed a number of “novel” reported smuggling methods, including via drones or sprayed onto books, letters and children’s drawings.

Lead researcher Dr Rob Ralphs, senior lecturer in criminology at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “It is no exaggeration to say that the synthetic cannabinoid market has exploded and unleashed a series of devastating impacts on prisons, prisoners and prison staff.

“Traditional drugs have almost been wiped out and replaced with these extremely powerful synthetic cannabinoids because prisoners are attracted by high profit margins and their lack of detection in drug tests.

“Our research found that prisoners’ motivation for taking synthetic cannabinoids was to escape the boredom of prison life and to avoid positive drug tests but their impact is extremely serious.”

The study – published in the International Journal of Drug Policy – comes at a time when the state of jails in England and Wales is under intense scrutiny.

New psychoactive substances, which were commonly referred to as legal highs before they were made the subject of a blanket ban earlier this year, have been identified as a “game-changer” as prisons are hit by surging levels of violence.

The government is pursuing a number of measures to tackle the problem under its prison reform plans, including “no fly zones” to stop drones dropping contraband into jails and mandatory drug testing across the estate.

More than 300 drug detection dogs have also been trained to identify psychoactive substances concealed in parcels and on people.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “As the Justice Secretary has made clear, we want prisons to be places of safety and reform and are educating prisoners about the dangers of drugs, especially the risks of new psychoactive substances.

“As part of our strategy to tackle this, we have rolled out new testing and have trained over 300 dogs to detect these substances.

“We have also introduced tough new laws to deal with people smuggling new psychoactive substances into jails and those caught using banned substances will face extra time behind bars.”

Prison smuggling drone use – up by 1550%

jaildroneDrones are being used to smuggle drugs, mobile phones and other banned items into prisons, it can be revealed.

Figures obtained through a Press Association Freedom of Information (FoI) request show that in 2013 none of the unmanned crafts were discovered in or around prisons in England and Wales.

But in 2014 this rose to two incidents, rocketing to 33 in 2015 – an increase of 1,550%.

Items discovered include just the drones themselves, drugs, mobile phones and chargers, and USB drives.

Mike Rolfe, national chairman elect of the Prison Officers Association (POA), said: “The use of drones to smuggle traditional drugs, NPS (legal highs) and mobiles phones into prisons is of serious concern to the POA.

“The POA have long pushed for increased staffing resource to tackle the security issue that drones present. The additional resource should be used to increase operational staffing within establishments, allowing for the recovery of parcels delivered to prisoners by drones through cell checks and prisoner searches.

“This includes pressing NOMS (National Offender Management Service) for measures to tackle drones such as ground patrols and secure windows on cells.

“The use of illicit mobiles phones allows for increased criminal activity and distress to victims and their families.

“The trafficking of illegal drugs and legal highs hampers rehabilitation breeding violence, bullying and gang culture. All of these issues are on the increase with the use of drones supporting this criminality.”

Prisons most affected by drone incidents between 2014 and 2015 were HMP Onley in Northamptonshire, topping the list with four, followed by Lindholme, Ranby and Swansea on three, and Bedford, Wandsworth and Manchester clocking two each.

Her Majesty’s prisons recording one occurrence include Leicester, The Mount, Whatton, Leeds, Eastwood Park, Liverpool, Norwich, Glen Parva, Huntercombe, Wormwood Scrubs, Full Sutton, Guys Marsh, Long Lartin, Bullingdon, Wealstun and Oakwood.

The Ministry of Justice said: “Incidents involving drones are rare, but we remain constantly vigilant to all new threats to prison security.

“We have introduced new legislation to further strengthen our powers, making it illegal to land a drone in prison or to use a drone to drop in psychoactive substances.

“Anyone found using drones in an attempt to get contraband into prisons can be punished with a sentence of up to two years.

“We take a zero tolerance approach to illicit material in prisons and work closely with the police and CPS to ensure those caught are prosecuted and face extra time behind bars.”

A report published in December by the HM Inspectorate of Prisons noted that illegal drugs, NPS and illicit medications may get into prisons in a number of ways – meaning it is not always possible to quantify exactly how many drugs are making it into prisons.

With supply routes differing from prison to prison, drugs have been discovered being thrown over fences in tennis balls, in large packages fired by catapults and being dropped by drones.

The report states that “easy access to illicit mobile telephones makes it possible to plan the drops carefully”.

Figures revealed by the FoI show that across the incidents at English prisons, drugs were discovered on at least six occasions, mobile phones more than nine times and a drone itself recovered in 19 instances.

One of the biggest finds listed a drone, drugs, mobile phone, a charger and USB cards being discovered in December last year at HMP Oakwood.

Below is a list of the number of times drones were discovered in and around English prisons over a three-year period, as well as a breakdown of the cargo the craft were carrying.

The freedom of information request sent to the Ministry of Justice reveals there was no drone activity reported in 2013, only two instances in 2014 and more than 33 in 2015.

Items discovered in or around the prison range from mobile phones and chargers to drugs and USB flash drives – other incidents have been recorded as either “unknown packages” or “miscellaneous”.

In their response, the Ministry of Justice states that “unknown packages” refers to an item which has been recovered as part of a suspected drone incident – with no specific information recorded on the contents.

And where “miscellaneous” has been recorded, this refers to a reported drone sighting in or around a prison. The MoJ states that where an incident has been listed as this or as drone only, they cannot know if the craft was being used for illegal purposes.

Here is a breakdown of drone incidents between 2013 and 2015, the location and items recovered.

:: April 2014

Ranby HMP – Mobile phones

:: June 2014

Ranby HMP – Drone, mobile phones

:: February 2015

Onley HMP – Unknown package

:: March 2015

Onley HMP – Unknown package

Onley HMP – Miscellaneous

Bedford HMP – Drone, unknown package

:: April 2015

Ranby HMP – Drone, drugs, mobile phones

Leicester HMP – Miscellaneous

:: May 2015

Lindholme HMP – Miscellaneous

:: June 2015

The Mount HMP – Drone, drugs

Swansea HMP – Drone, mobile phones

:: July 2015

Whatton HMP – Drone

Leeds HMP – Drone

:: August 2015

Eastwood Park HMP – Miscellaneous

Liverpool HMP – Drone

Norwich HMP and YOI – Drone

:: September 2015

Onley HMP – Drone and drugs

Glen Parva HMPYOI and RC – Miscellaneous

Lindholme HMP – Miscellaneous

:: October 2015

Lindholme HMP – Drone

Wandsworth HMP – Drone, unknown package

Wandsworth HMP – Miscellaneous

Swansea HMP – Miscellaneous

Bedford HMP – Drone, unknown package

Huntercombe HMP – Miscellaneous

Manchester HMP – Miscellaneous

Wormwood Scrubs HMP – Drone, drugs, mobile phones

Full Sutton HMP – Miscellaneous

:: November 2015

Swansea HMP – Miscellaneous

Manchester HMP – Drone, mobile phones

Guys Marsh HMP – Miscellaneous

Long Lartin HMP – Miscellaneous

:: December 2015

Bullingdon HMP – Drone, drugs, mobile phones

Wealstun HMP – Drone

Oakwood – Drone, drugs, mobile phone, charger, USB cards

Prison officers ignore use of legal highs and pornography

HMP Rochester
HMP Rochester

Prison staff ignore inmates who are under the influence of “legal highs” in a jail where their use is a major problem, according to a watchdog report published today.

The Times reported drugs had been found at the rate of ten a month, including very large parcels that had been thrown over the wall, at Rochester jail in Kent. Prison inspectors saw inmates who were clearly under the influence of psychoactive substances when they arrived at the 740-inmate jail in September.

Their inspection report said that the use and supply of the substances, such as Spice, was a significant threat to prisoners. Inmates said that it was easier to get them than tobacco.

“There had been 62 drugs finds in the previous six months, including some very large parcels that had been thrown over the wall. During the inspection we observed prisoners obviously under the influence of these substances. However, some staff seemed indifferent to the number of prisoners clearly under the influence of drugs”, the report said.

The availability of so-called legal highs such as Spice was also leading to debt and bullying among inmates: 40 prisoners were held in isolation as they feared for their safety because of debts related to drugs.

Anabolic steroids and illegal buprenorphine (Subutex) had also been detected in drug tests.

Between March and August last year violence had escalated with 18 assaults against staff, 36 against prisoners and 16 fights.

Some had resulted in serious injuries and, in one case, murder.

The report also criticised poor living accommodation after inspectors found dirty cells, broken equipment and laundry facilities that were out of use.

Graffiti and displays of explicit pornography were widespread and some prisoners held in the segregation unit were living in squalid conditions. One prisoner had been left overnight in a cell with a blocked sink and toilet and another in a cell that had been damaged by fire, the report said.

Inspectors said staff too often failed to challenge poor behaviour by prisoners. “We observed prisoners swearing and smoking freely on landings, prisoner cleaners failing to work, without challenge by staff, and pictures contravening the offensive displays policy that were not dealt with.”

Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, said the jail had gone through big changes but had not made the progress hoped for.

“We were told of plans for the future but our overriding impression was that it was a prison that just needed to focus on the basics.

“A robust drug strategy, cleaning the prison up, getting prisoners to work on time and some joined-up thinking about their approach to resettling prisoners would be good places to start,” he said.

Michael Spurr, the chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, said: “As the chief inspector has found, Rochester faces a significant challenge from new psychoactive substances, or so called legal highs.

“Staff are determined to tackle this and have already put in place additional security measures, as well as increasing awareness about the dangers and extending support to overcome substance misuse issues.”

Legal highs and drones targeted in prison crackdown

jaildroneSmugglers attempting to sneak so-called legal highs into prisons will face up to two years in jail under a Government crackdown.

A new law will also target those using drones to fly materials into jails.

Last year authorities recorded 250 incidents of new psychoactive substances being thrown over prison walls but until now police have had no power to act against those caught in the act because the drugs themselves are not yet illegal.

Now ministers have signed an order to close the loophole.

From November 10 smugglers who throw anything over prison walls will face arrest, while those found to have smuggled packages could face a custodial sentence of up to two years.

Prisons minister Andrew Selous said: “These ‘lethal highs’ fuel violence in our prisons including brutal assaults on staff and other prisoners. It’s got to stop.

“That is why we’re closing this dangerous loophole in the law so perpetrators will now face up to two years in prison.

New psychoactive substances can cause violent, unpredictable behaviour and lead to prison assaults, the Ministry of Justice said.

Earlier this year it emerged that the drugs, which mimic the effects of traditional banned substances such as cannabis, are suspected to have played a part in the deaths of at least 19 prisoners.

The Government announced a wider crackdown on legal highs earlier this year, with sellers of the drugs facing up to seven years in prison under a new law.

Ian Bickers, governor of HMP Wandsworth in south-west London, said: “These drugs cause huge problems in prisons, fuelling violence and bad behaviour among prisoners.

“They are frequently smuggled in through packages thrown over the wall. Anything that can be done to crack down on this is very welcome.”

The new offence will also cover the flying of items into prisons by a drone or the landing of the gadget itself within prison grounds, regardless of whether it is transporting contraband.

Earlier this year Eve Richard, a senior analyst at the National Offender Management Service (Noms) intelligence unit, was reported to have described the use of drones to drop items into prisons as an “emerging threat”.

Senior Met Cop Pleads Guilty to Possession of Class A Drugs

Paul Cahill
Paul Cahill

A senior gay police officer who was awarded an MBE has pleaded guilty to possession of drugs, Scotland Yard said.

Chief Inspector Paul Cahill, 43, admitted two counts of possession of Class A drugs, one of possession of Class B drug, and one of possession of Class C drug.

He was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay £85 costs, with a £15 victim surcharge, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.

A Yard spokesman said: “Chief Inspector Cahill remains suspended from duty. Now that the criminal proceedings are complete the Metropolitan Police will conduct amisconduct investigation.”

Awarded an MBE for services to diversity in policing in 2004, the decorated officer is known for appearing on the cover of Gay Times in full uniform in 1997.

He first joined the police in the 1990s when he said it was ”virtually not acceptable to be gay”.

Cahill was also involved in using gay officers to reassure the public and gather intelligence around Old Compton Street in the aftermath of the Soho nail bombing in 1999.

He was the chairman of the Gay Police Association until it disbanded in April last year and helped secure it public funding in 2002.

Prisoners used official jail laptops to mastermind £30m drug operation

HM Prison Wandsworth
HM Prison Wandsworth

A criminal gang carried out a £30 million drug-smuggling operation from their cells – using laptops supplied by the Ministry of Justice to help them prepare for legal cases, and which they managed to tamper with, it has been reported.

The plotters even paid more than £1 million to persuade a freelance “fixer” to get himself convicted of fraud and sent to their prison to co-ordinate the operation – which involved shipping a ton of heroin and ketamine to Britain, according to tomorrow’s edition of The Independent.

The six-strong group came together at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London, where they used computers supplied by the authorities under a taxpayer-funded scheme to help them prepare their cases, the report said.

The security features were disabled by another member of the gang – an east European hacker – using a coded memory stick smuggled into the jail by one of the plotter’s girlfriends.

The gang used the computers to communicate with overseas contacts to place the drugs on shipping containers of legitimate operators travelling from south Asia bound for Britain, the report added.

A Prison Service spokesman said: “Prisons are required to provide secure laptops to a minority of offenders facing trial so they can view legal material relating to their case.

“The computers do not enable prisoners to access any other part of the NationalOffender Management Service system and internet access is disabled.

“We will always take action against those attempting to break the rules and offenders face prosecution if they use equipment inappropriately.”

It is understood that only those considered to have legal material too complex or bulky to view on paper have access to these laptops and new, more secure laptops are now starting to be supplied to some prisoners.

“Legalise heroin” argues expert

Professor Martin Schechter
Professor Martin Schechter

Prescribing heroin to addicts could be cheaper than methadone, an expert on addiction has suggested.
Professor Martin Schechter, who has long campaigned on the issue, said the drug substitute did not always prove to be effective while heroin treatments have been shown to get people clean as well as reduce harm, lower societal cost and make savings for the healthcare system.
Writing in the BMJ, he said: “Illicit heroin is a dangerous street drug that leads to substantial morbidity and mortality. Because its dose and purity are unknown, users will face the risk of overdose and death.”
Addicts will be in and out of hospitals, court rooms and prisons and “cost society a fortune while suffering immeasurably because they have an illness that society does not like”.
Prof Schechter, of the School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine at University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, said that while the direct cost of heroin assisted treatment is four times that of traditional treatments, it still works out to be cheaper when accounting for all associated costs compared to other interventions.
He cited six randomised controlled trials that found heroin assisted treatment to be more effective than standard treatments for patients, including one in the Netherlands which estimated that heroin-assisted therapy led to overall savings of about £9,530 per patient a year when compared with methadone, while British researchers found it was more cost-effective than methadone.
“The argument that therapeutic heroin is too expensive is false,” he said.
“Treatments like this represent the holy grail of medical research seeking to support a sustainable healthcare system: they achieve better outcomes at lower overall cost. Those savings could be redirected towards addiction prevention programmes and other priorities.”
He said conventional therapies such as methadone should remain the preferred treatment for patients with heroin addiction, but heroin-assisted therapy should be offered to those who have not benefited from them.