Newsbrief: British Government to Issue Guidelines for Heroin Prescriptions, Pilot Programs Coming Soon 5/23/03

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British Home Secretary David Blunkett told a meeting of British general practitioners on May 16 that the government is about to issue guidelines that will allow specialist doctors to prescribe heroin for a limited number of hard-core drug users. The guidelines will be followed by the start-up of pilot programs in which doctors will prescribe heroin to help users manage their addiction and lessen their criminal behavior.

"We need radical thinking about how we engage them [hard-core drug users] in treatment," Blunkett told the Sheffield conference. "Prescribing heroin is all about what is right for the individual. It is about making it available to all those with a clinical need."

Currently, some 440 people are being prescribed heroin in Britain. That number would not increase dramatically, Blunkett said, adding that most addicts would still be treated with methadone.

But doctors at the conference warned Blunkett that most physicians would decline to get involved in heroin prescribing because they feared police action. The Royal College of General Practitioners is also less than enthusiastic about the heroin prescription plan. "We caution against any expansion in the prescribing of heroin in a primary care setting until there is clearer evidence around its efficacy," the college said in a position paper.

But querulous physicians notwithstanding, prescription heroin is coming to Britain once again.

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Issue #288, 5/23/03 Editorial: Outrage at Outrages | No Marijuana Possession Law in Ontario, Court Rules -- Cops Vow to Keep Arresting Users Anyway | Hip Hop Nation Set to Rock the Rockefeller Laws -- Mass Protest Set for June 4 if Laws Not Repealed | GOP Effort to Let Drug Czar Propagandize Against Reform Stalled in House Committee | Drug Testing Has No Impact on Student Drug Use, Study Finds | Stop the Murder of Thai Drug Users -- International Day of Action, June 12 | CNN Special Report on "Killing Pablo" | Newsbrief: Rosenthal Loses Motion for New Trial, Sentencing Date Looms | Newsbrief: Medical Marijuana -- Yes in Maryland, No in Connecticut | Newsbrief: "States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act" Reintroduced | Newsbrief: "Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Student Loan" Bill Introduced in Wisconsin | Newsbrief: House Committee Takes Slap at Needle Exchange | Newsbrief: Garcia Marquez Says Legalize Drugs to End Colombian Violence | Newsbrief: Scotland Yard Chief Says Legalize It | Newsbrief: British Government to Issue Guidelines for Heroin Prescriptions, Pilot Programs Coming Soon | Newsbrief: Australian State to Do Medical Marijuana Trials | Newsbrief: "Indian Hemp" Farmers Shoot It Out With Nigerian Narcs | Media Scan: Cockburn on Rosenthal, Forbes on Buying Initiatives, CNN on Bad Drug Raid | The Reformer's Calendar
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