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Allowing heroin users to use it in dedicated rooms in hospitals

Discussion in 'Heroin' started by JulianWilliams, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. JulianWilliams

    JulianWilliams Active Contributor

    I've read about some country in Northern Europe (it could have been Denmark) where they encourage heroin users to heat to their local hospital where they are provided with everything they need to use the drug. I think it's a great idea. It severely reduces the risk of them resorting to using other people's needle and getting all sort of diseases.
  2. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    We have needle exchange programs here in the UK, where users can dispose of their dirty needles and get clean ones. Some of these centres even have nurses who will tell you how to inject safely. Besides preventing deaths, I think it is a good idea to get users engaged with these services. Once they are through the door, they can then get access to general healthcare services and detox programs. People are always going to take drugs so we may as well help them to do it safely.
  3. JulianWilliams

    JulianWilliams Active Contributor

    Great. That's what I was thinking. It's a good thing to prevent them from getting infected with deadly diseases and it also reduces increases the chances they'll go through the detox program. Sadly, there are many other countries which refuse to apply these common sense strategies. Hopefully that will change in the near future.
  4. blur92

    blur92 Senior Contributor

    I think we need more ways to discourage use rather than providing them. I don't encourage arresting and locking addicts up in prison; in fact I am very much against it. However, giving way for an addiction offers little to no motivation to quit. I think addicts should be brought to half-way houses or rehabilitation centers of some kind instead. In this way they have access to medical attention and help to quit.
    Nick W. likes this.
  5. Spiegel

    Spiegel Member

    I have to agree with the person above, while this may prevent some uncleanliness and deaths connected to that, I think this is a good idea but would never work in any way other than providing the addicts with better ways to inject themselves. I too think, that it should be much more discouraged than it is now and something else should be done with those people.
    blur92 likes this.
  6. bsthebenster

    bsthebenster Community Champion

    But are there any drawbacks to providing them with better ways to inject? I mean, if heroin is as addictive as it is said to be, I can't see an addict choosing not to indulge simply because they have no unused needles.
  7. DK01

    DK01 Active Contributor

    I think its a fantastic idea. generally I have to say the Scandinavians seem to really have their finger on the pulse when it comes to social issues. It infuriates me the way users are cast out to the edge of society and get stuck in the inevitable perpetual cycle of crime, using, crime, jail, crime, etc etc. It makes no sense at all, and that's without even considering the effects of this approach on wider society.

    Many wealthy people use the drug and because they can afford it, it doesn't have the same debilitating effect on their lives. Unfortunately due to the society we've created, drugs will always be around and people will always use them, the more of those we help properly the fewer of them there will be.
  8. I feel that heroin is treated here in the US inappropriately. I've heard about programs in Europe, like the needle exchange, methadone clinics, etc. and feel like they would be a much more suitable and appropriate way to handle the drug problem over here. I feel like once we start treating it like a social and health problem and less as a criminal problem then we may finally see some improvement. I don't believe putting people in prison and making their lives a lot harder once they come back out will help them stay clean once they are released. There are definitely some changes that need made over here to help people get back on their feet.
    DK01 likes this.
  9. DK01

    DK01 Active Contributor

    Couldn't agree more with what you've said there. The worst thing is that there is research available, research that has proven that the so called 'war on drugs' has been an unmitigated failure. Furthermore, there are real time, large scale social experiments regarding drugs occurring in different countries around the world. For example Portugal has no illegal drugs at all, and they also have the lowest rate of crime anywhere in the European Union.

    I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I think some high up have a vested interest in continuing the war or drugs.
  10. HugsNotDrugs

    HugsNotDrugs Active Contributor

    I think it's a good thing. I don't see this as encouraging the addiction. I saw a documentary on the ones in Scandinavia that you're talking about, and they offer all kinds of counseling and rehab services too. In order to be able to shoot up there, you first have to listen to them give you all your options for if you ever want to get help, so it educated addicts that might have otherwise not sought out that information.

    The addicts also get used to health professionals being nice to them and non-judgmental, so if they ever need to go to the hospital they won't feel so afraid that someone's going to lock them up or treat them badly.

    I think people get addicted by first using the drug socially, so I think it's unlikely that non-addicts would want to go be alone with a nurse in a clinic room all day so they could shoot up. I think anyone who's using this service is probably already a full-blown addict.
  11. randomrules

    randomrules Member

    Several people in this thread have already said that they think this encourages or facilitates addiction and is therefore a bad approach. It might seem counterintuitive but giving drug users access to drugs and a safe place to take them actually leads to them taking less of the drug and in some cases engaging with other services and help and entering recovery.

    I don't know exactly why this was but I imagine it was something to do with the fact that they could get the drug with such ease. Can you imagine how dull drugs become when you know you can just walk to an hospital and get a hit. No stress or worry, no nervous tension waiting to score and then the euphoria of getting your hands on a deal.

    No, instead scoring becomes something not too unlike a visit to the dentist. The waiting room with corporate music, the out of date magazines, etc. And then you shoot up in a room in the hospital and go on your way.

    There is no need to commit crime. To sell sex. No spread of disease via unclean needles. None of the monetary and human cost attached to these things. No money is being fed back into the hands of criminal gangs and ultimately people start to lower their own use.

    The cost of providing this via the State is a fraction of the cost spent on the War on Drugs and if it was properly implemented it would end the War. The criminal gangs would not need to exist.

    In Portugal where they legalised ALL drug use over a decade ago they have seen a fall of 50 percent in the number of drug users.

    This is the solution. Here in England there use to be a few hundred thousand morphine addicts and these addicts could go to there local doctor and receive a script. That was until we rather foolishly followed the U.S and with the Misuse of Drugs Act, stopped this practice. What happened? The criminals moved in and the number of addicts rose massively, along with crime and the spread of disease.
    trevermorgana likes this.
  12. timelord731

    timelord731 Senior Contributor

    I like the idea, but once they aren't able to pay for they drug, they are gonna be out on the streets looking for more.
  13. randomrules

    randomrules Member

    Fortunately in most of Europe we have socialised medical care which means people don't have to worry about that kind of thing.

    "Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community.” Aneurin Bevan
  14. vegito12

    vegito12 Community Champion

    This may seem like a good idea, but it can bring the wrong consequences for the user and get them more addicted than getting help which can backfire on the hospital. It should be improving the person not, letting them take drugs over there and could make them think it is alright to do. I hope changes are done, otherwise more people will just go to the hospital and get drugged and overstay their welcome and do bad things.
  15. trevermorgana

    trevermorgana Active Contributor

    We could use something like that here in PR but it should be very limited and through a counselors referral depending on how severe the person might be. Early users should be the main demographic for it since the addiction isn't as severe and could be supervised. I can see how this could backfire though but like I said, it should be regulated and done with a purpose more than just giving people a better, cleaner place to do it.
  16. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I'm torn on the subject really. It seems like a potential good idea, and a potential enabling idea. I would like to see some numbers from countries that have been doing various different things for more than a decade and see what the long-term consequences and numbers are. I don't think there is 1 great way to do things, but a combination.
  17. Smarty

    Smarty Active Contributor

    OK, I am all for that. Yes, certainly the best choice would be no heroin at all... but since addicts crave it so much, at least this way it can be done in a slightly safer way. However, I am not certain how that will affect the battle against the addiction itself. It looks to me as if this kind of "encouragement" might backfire at some point.
  18. oraclemay

    oraclemay Community Champion

    No-one likes the idea of enabling a drug addict, but you have to consider that they are going to take the drug anyway. It is better for them to do it safely. The fact is that this has proved to drastically reduce the number of addicts in certain areas, simply because they have access to counseling and care services. Drug addicts are people that actually need more care and more attention than the average individual.
  19. rightct

    rightct Community Champion

    I'm also against putting them in jail for doing harm to their own body, but encouraging them to do doesn't seem to be savvy either! Come on, it won't change anything, it will simply worsen the current drug addicts situation. They only need to be taken into special detox centres and have someone look after them since they're a danger for both themselves and society.
    So, to conclude, serving prison isn't in any way resolving problems, but encouraging it is even worse.
  20. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    It's sort of radical thinking but it probably works. There are countries where certain things are not prohibited like they are here in the states. Guess what? They don't have drinking and driving fatalities. They don't have reckless teenagers killing each other. Prohibiting things does not make for safety. Some kids grow up where they are allowed to do all kinds of things. Drinking or gambling whatever. It's nothing to them. They are also smarter about it. No drinking age or whatever they are allowed to do. I don't know but somehow this seems smarter. It's like as soon as you say no you can't do this they get into it and in a bad way.