Addicts to use UK’s first heroin-assisted treatment centre
Heroin addicts will be able to use the drug in the UK’s first heroin-assisted treatment centre in an attempt to save lives and reduce crime. The proposed centre, in Middlesbrough, will be open seven days a week. Participants in the scheme will inject themselves three times daily under the supervision of health staff.
The centre has received a Home Office license to operate and is expected to open this autumn. The centre will use medical-grade heroin in a scheme designed to reduce the dependence of hardcore addicts on the drug.
Barry Coppinger, Cleveland’s police and crime commissioner, has spearheaded the effort to open the centre. Treatment will cost approximately £12,000 a year for each of the 15 selected addicts. Coppinger said that the addicts chosen were the most prolific users in the area. He added that it was clear that current strategies to combat heroin abuse by hardcore addicts were not working and that a new approach was needed to break the cycle of addiction and the resultant costs to society.
But, some critics have speculated that the scheme could exacerbate the drug problem. David Green, the chief executive of the think tank, Civitas, said that the level of addiction might increase if the use of this scheme became widespread. A heroin-assisted treatment centre is expected to open in Glasgow later this year, and other future centres are possible in West Midlands, Somerset, Durham, and Avon.