THE Scottish Government is to spend £4.5million over three years on needles and other drug equipment to give to addicts.

Hospitals and prisons will be supplied with syringes, swabs, citric acid and even spoons. The Government says the aim is to cut the numbers of addicts getting hepatitis C through sharing needles. But drug expert Professor Neil McKeganey said they should concentrate on getting addicts OFF drugs, rather than help to feed their habits.
Prof McKeganey, of Glasgow University’s Centre for Drug Misuse, said: “I think that the Scottish Government are labouring under the mis-apprehension that if they provide drug users with the means of using illegal drugs that they will effectively reduce some of the harm. “Yet we have in Scotland record levels of drug related death, record levels of hepatitis C infections these are indications of failure to prevent harm. I think that such a sum of money would be much more usefully spent on funding abstinence based programmes.”
He added: “Our government is so wedded to the principle of harm reduction that they are giving inadequate resources to those places which are about abstinence That is what we have been doing of the last 15 years and failing.
“If we continue doing that then we will continue to fail.”
The Scottish Government is inviting bids from firms to supply the gear.
A spokesman said: “Scotland is in the middle of a hepatitis C epidemic and it would be irresponsible to ignore that. To tackle this effectively we must reduce, as much as possible, the frequency of intravenous drug users sharing injecting equipment.”

Source: The Scottish Sun Tues.19th Jan 2010

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