Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, has called for the NHS to give out heroin on prescription to addicts where other forms of treatment have failed.
The pilot schemes used pharmaceutical diamorphine imported from Switzerland in a supervised clinic prescribed by a doctor.
Three-quarters of users \”substantially reduced\” their use of street drugs, and their spending on drugs fell from £300 to £50 a week. The number of crimes they committed fell from 1,731 in three months to 547 in six months.
Excellent, it works. Get on with it then.
Mr Hayes, of the National Treatment Agency, said the trials only involved chronic long-term addicts who had failed to respond to other treatments and added: \”No one is suggesting this should be the frontline treatment for heroin addiction.”
I am, as is everyone else who has thought about this in any depth. Except, of course, the spokesman for a bureaucracy that would be wiped out by this change in policy and treatment. So you can bugger off laddie.
This will actually be a very good test indeed of James Buchanan\’s theories of public choice. The nub of which is that bureaucracies and politicians do not do what is good for the country or for the citizenry, they do what is good for bureaucracies and or politicians.
So will David Cameron, Nick Clegg, the various would be replacers of Gordon Brown at the top of the Labour Party, stand up and say, yes, clearly, good idea, get on with it. Or will they use it as a moment to gain some temporary political advantage over Jack Straw?
In short, will they act for the good of society and the citizenry or for narrow political advantage?
Place your bets now.