Shooting galleries for drug addicts reduced crime

First published in News by

A scheme which created “shooting galleries” for heroin addicts has led to big reductions in the use of street drugs and crime.

The pilot, part of which was carried out in Brighton, saw users administered the drug or a substitute in supervised NHS conditions.

The results, which were published today, showed those who were injected with heroin made “marked improvements” in their general health.

Leaders behind the project are now asking Government ministers to set up further trials to tackle misuse in the city, which was recently declared the drugs death capital of Britain.

Morag Murray, of the Sussex Partnership, who helped run the project, said: “These findings show that it is possible to effectively treat those people with a severe and enduring crime-funded heroin addiction, who previously found it difficult to engage with services.

“Participants who received clinical injectable heroin during the trial were long-term drug users, previously spending about £300 a week on street heroin to fund their addiction.

“They are now spending on average less than £50 a week, with a significant proportion completely cutting out their use of street heroin altogether.

“There was also reduced use of other drugs, such as crack cocaine, and marked improvements in both physical and mental health and social functioning.

“We now need to wait for policy makers to decide how to best apply these findings.”

The Randomised Injecting Opioid Treatment Trial (RIOTT) programme involved more than 100 users nationally in centres in Brighton as well as London and Darlington.

Many of the clients, who were all self-referred, had been identified as the hardest to treat.

During the trials, a third of addicts were given methadone, a heroin substitute, orally and another third had it injected under supervision.

The remainder, observed by nurses, injected themselves with diamorphine - unadulterated heroin - imported from Switzerland.

Psychological support and help with housing and social needs was also offered.

After six months, the heroin injecting group had committed two-thirds less crimes - a fall from 1,731 to 547.

Project leaders say the scheme, which costs £15,000 per user every year, is cost effective as it helped avoid “expensive” prison sentences.

Independent expert group The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse said there was enough "positive evidence of the benefits" to merit further pilots.

Comments (12)

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5:18pm Tue 15 Sep 09

Cory Trevor says...

The NHS is great - addicts get some decent skag, and hospitals can't find beds for the elderly.

loads of problems solved!
The NHS is great - addicts get some decent skag, and hospitals can't find beds for the elderly. loads of problems solved! Cory Trevor
  • Score: 0

5:25pm Tue 15 Sep 09

yorkie44 says...

It hasn't done anything to reduce deaths from drugs. We are once again the drug capital of the UK. The claims in this report don't make sense when the deaths are taken into account.
It hasn't done anything to reduce deaths from drugs. We are once again the drug capital of the UK. The claims in this report don't make sense when the deaths are taken into account. yorkie44
  • Score: 0

5:46pm Tue 15 Sep 09

Redbeard says...

Shooting gallery, what a great idea. Put all the junkies in a room and shoot them, problem solved.
Shooting gallery, what a great idea. Put all the junkies in a room and shoot them, problem solved. Redbeard
  • Score: 0

9:39pm Tue 15 Sep 09

stan bailey says...

oh good they now only need to find £50 to fund their habit from drug dealers. But they are still drug addicts, just we now pay for it through our taxes. Am I supposed to be pleased?
oh good they now only need to find £50 to fund their habit from drug dealers. But they are still drug addicts, just we now pay for it through our taxes. Am I supposed to be pleased? stan bailey
  • Score: 0

9:46pm Tue 15 Sep 09

Auld School says...

Marvellous, free illegal drugs to users but £15,000 for the taxpayer. Its a good job tobacco and alcohol is taxed to the gunnels to pay for such schemes.
Marvellous, free illegal drugs to users but £15,000 for the taxpayer. Its a good job tobacco and alcohol is taxed to the gunnels to pay for such schemes. Auld School
  • Score: 0

10:11pm Tue 15 Sep 09

cheezburger says...

So crime has been reduced because these junkies get free heroin. might i suggest the crime figures would also shrink if these same junkies were put in jail?
So crime has been reduced because these junkies get free heroin. might i suggest the crime figures would also shrink if these same junkies were put in jail? cheezburger
  • Score: 0

11:36pm Tue 15 Sep 09

TheInsider says...

Bloody hell. My father has worked all his life since he was 15 and at 68 has been told he has a heart problem but the NHS Trust doesn't have the money in the current budget to give him any treatment. He might get help in April 2010.
Then I read this. I am spewing. If I dared to show my father this story he would die of a bloody broken heart at what Great Britain has become, a haven for malingerers, sick notes, addicts, obese teenage mums, spotty teen males boozing on street corners, terrorists, perverts, murderers while the country's elderly and really sick are ignored.
God help any of these junkies if I see them getting free help.
Bloody hell. My father has worked all his life since he was 15 and at 68 has been told he has a heart problem but the NHS Trust doesn't have the money in the current budget to give him any treatment. He might get help in April 2010. Then I read this. I am spewing. If I dared to show my father this story he would die of a bloody broken heart at what Great Britain has become, a haven for malingerers, sick notes, addicts, obese teenage mums, spotty teen males boozing on street corners, terrorists, perverts, murderers while the country's elderly and really sick are ignored. God help any of these junkies if I see them getting free help. TheInsider
  • Score: 0

5:04am Wed 16 Sep 09

greenpaws says...

I applaud this article. We must start thinking outside the box and not just thinking of solution based on our strict moral coding.

When finding solutions to problems all other solutions have failed, we must begin to understand what is truly effective, and often that will mean letting experts do things we don't understand or like, but they will yield results.

Often people are too closed minded to really treat anti-social problems.
I applaud this article. We must start thinking outside the box and not just thinking of solution based on our strict moral coding. When finding solutions to problems all other solutions have failed, we must begin to understand what is truly effective, and often that will mean letting experts do things we don't understand or like, but they will yield results. Often people are too closed minded to really treat anti-social problems. greenpaws
  • Score: 0

10:09am Wed 16 Sep 09

kerryfee says...

greenpaws wrote:
I applaud this article. We must start thinking outside the box and not just thinking of solution based on our strict moral coding. When finding solutions to problems all other solutions have failed, we must begin to understand what is truly effective, and often that will mean letting experts do things we don't understand or like, but they will yield results. Often people are too closed minded to really treat anti-social problems.
You w*nker, how could you possibly write such rubbish, have you not read theinsider's post, his father could die because there is no money to treat him and yet you advocate spending money on people who self inflict. The world has gone mad.
[quote][p][bold]greenpaws[/bold] wrote: I applaud this article. We must start thinking outside the box and not just thinking of solution based on our strict moral coding. When finding solutions to problems all other solutions have failed, we must begin to understand what is truly effective, and often that will mean letting experts do things we don't understand or like, but they will yield results. Often people are too closed minded to really treat anti-social problems.[/p][/quote]You w*nker, how could you possibly write such rubbish, have you not read theinsider's post, his father could die because there is no money to treat him and yet you advocate spending money on people who self inflict. The world has gone mad. kerryfee
  • Score: 0

10:29am Wed 16 Sep 09

stickman says...

Great idea but needs one improvement - lace the heroin with cyanide.
Great idea but needs one improvement - lace the heroin with cyanide. stickman
  • Score: 0

11:31am Wed 16 Sep 09

Cory Trevor says...

Tthe danger of a scheme like this, is, as someone above has mentioned, that the addicts get a fix, but there is nothing to stop them abusing the system with 'self funded' drugs.

It's all very well taking the liberal view that we 'need to think outside the box', but heroin addiction is not only a disease of the mind, but of the body too. It is not something that can be solved over night, nor by government backed schemes, which in all probability came from the jotter of some fresh faced university do-gooder.

This scheme will only work once the main supply is obliterated, and if it is piloted while there are still drugs on the street, it will be a bottomless pit for public funds.
Tthe danger of a scheme like this, is, as someone above has mentioned, that the addicts get a fix, but there is nothing to stop them abusing the system with 'self funded' drugs. It's all very well taking the liberal view that we 'need to think outside the box', but heroin addiction is not only a disease of the mind, but of the body too. It is not something that can be solved over night, nor by government backed schemes, which in all probability came from the jotter of some fresh faced university do-gooder. This scheme will only work once the main supply is obliterated, and if it is piloted while there are still drugs on the street, it will be a bottomless pit for public funds. Cory Trevor
  • Score: 0

12:41pm Wed 16 Sep 09

Wilftop says...

Redbeard wrote:
Shooting gallery, what a great idea. Put all the junkies in a room and shoot them, problem solved.
I'd rather redbeards idea them me having to pay more council tax for these wasters who DON'T want to change or turn thier lives around.

Just walk past St peters church in an evening & see how many of them & thier alco mates are out enjoying OUR hard earned money.

I'd rather my money is used on those like the Insiders Dad & our other elderly patients. not the waste of space druggie's.

Hope your dad gets the treatment he need soon insider.
[quote][p][bold]Redbeard[/bold] wrote: Shooting gallery, what a great idea. Put all the junkies in a room and shoot them, problem solved.[/p][/quote]I'd rather redbeards idea them me having to pay more council tax for these wasters who DON'T want to change or turn thier lives around. Just walk past St peters church in an evening & see how many of them & thier alco mates are out enjoying OUR hard earned money. I'd rather my money is used on those like the Insiders Dad & our other elderly patients. not the waste of space druggie's. Hope your dad gets the treatment he need soon insider. Wilftop
  • Score: 0

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