Prisoners should be handed an anti-overdose drug when they leave jail in case they binge on heroin in their first days outside, the Government’s drug advisers said yesterday.And if they do, and subsequently kill themselves, well, so what?
Professor Les Iversen, chairman of the advisory council, said a single injection of naloxone could revive a heroin addict from a coma. He wants it to be more widely used after figures showed that, on average, one in eight heroin–injecting prisoners overdose within two weeks of leaving jail and one in 200 die.Are they lives we want to save? Put bluntly, at a time when money is tight, is it worth the cost?
“Getting it as widely available as possible is the name of the game,” he said.
“It is really a magic medicine. Issuing naloxone kits to heroin addicts as they leave prison as a way of trying to save some of their lives.”
Critics said last night that it could encourage addicts to take stronger doses of heroin, knowing they had an antidote.Well, quite!
At £15 a time, it would cost the public hundreds of thousands of pounds to fund every year.We can’t afford it. Even if it made sense, even if we were flush, I’d say it’s something we can’t afford.
Yesterday, David Liddell, a member of the advisory council and the Scottish Drugs Forum, said: “'You can’t recover if you’re dead’, is the line we’re backing on this. It should be seen as an important part of a recovery strategy to try to save as many lives as possible.
“Over 500 drug-related deaths could be prevented through naloxone and other methods.”We can spare 500 useless druggie wasters, though, can’t we? It’s not as if they are likely to be brain surgeons, is it?