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Prescribed heroin could be part of West Midlands anti-drug plans

Heroin could soon be prescribed to drug addicts under plans set out by the West Midlands police and crime commissioner.

David Jamieson announced the proposals this morning in a bid to tackle the cost of drugs to public services, and reduce drug-related crime and deaths.

According to the report heroin could be given, in a medical setting, to addicts who haven’t responded to other forms of treatment – allowing them to access clean equipment, medical support and drug treatment services.

It’s estimated that substance misuse costs the West Midlands £1.4bn each year.

“If we are to cut crime and save lives there’s one thing we can all agree on; we need fresh ideas,” Jamieson said.

“Drug use and dependence should first and foremost be treated as a health issue. We should be tackling the root causes of crime, rather than just react to criminality that follows.”

The report also included introducing on-site testing in the region’s nightspots and equipping police with the overdose treatment naxalone.

Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said that it was ‘heartening’ to hear from influential people with on the ground experience.

“We know that diverting people suffering as a result of harmful substance use away from the criminal justice system and into treatment leads to better outcomes for the individual and for society, and we know that pragmatic harm reduction interventions such as drug consumption rooms, heroin-assisted treatment and drug safety testing can play an extremely helpful role in that process,” she added.

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