Tuesday 15 September 2009

Now, there's a surprise!

From The Metro:

Heroin trial cuts crime and drug use

A heroin supply scheme for addicts has substantially cut crime and the use of street drugs, according to analysis. The pilot scheme consists of supervised clinics in London, Brighton and Darlington where addicts were given heroin or substitute methadone. Around 100 people are involved. Those given heroin did best with 75 per cent "substantially" reducing their use of drugs.

The Randomised Injecting Opioid Treatment Trial programme began three years ago. Addicts were given psychological support. Addicts were split into three different groups: those injecting methodone, those taking methodone orally and those injecting heroin. More than half of the heroin injectors were "largely abstinent" from street drugs and their average spend dropped from £300 to £50 a week. There was also a big drop in crimes committed. The 60-odd heroin injectors had been committing 1,731 crimes a month in total, which dropped to 547 when on the scheme.


AntiCitizenOne said...

Why not offer more heroin, if they're supervised 24-7?

Then crime would drop to zero.

Heroin is so cheap to produce the citizens dividend would easily cover those who voluntarily imprison themselves.

Ed said...

Only 9 crimes on average per month per addict on the treatment programme. Great. Do the police pursue prosecutions against them for these crimes? Or refrain from doing so, because that would interrupt the programme? When do the victims of these crimes get justice?

I like the idea of 24-7 supervision. It's called prison, and it seems that's where most of these addicts should be, not for the stupid crime of taking drugs but for the theft (and possibly the associated violence) they inflict upon others.

Lester Taylor said...

I always wonder what the low life criminals would turn to if you deny them earnings via the drugs route. Would they return to armed robbery, extortion, the protection racket? They'd do something, as honest work would not be an option for these people.

AntiCitizenOne said...

No, I reckon work would be easy for these people.

Boring Jobs like shelf stacking etc would be ideal.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TEV, you might as well ask "If we made alcohol illegal, would some bank robbers or racketeers turn to bootlegging alcohol instead of robbing banks or racketeering?" That's hardly an argument for making alcohol illegal, is it?

Criminals exploit opportunities, and an artificial market like illegal drugs are a Godsend, which in turn beget more crime (theft to fund habits and violence between dealers, for example) and divert attention of police away from 'proper' crimes, i.e. those which would happen with or without drugs.