55 2 mins 9 yrs

Time to turn the Government into the biggest dealer of Class A drugs, yes? Time for the taxpayer to fund heroine users, yes?

A senior police officer has called for an end to criminalising drug addicts, warning that the UK has “comprehensively failed” to win the war on drugs. Mike Barton, Durham’s Chief Constable, said that using the NHS, or a similar institution, to supply addicts with drugs would stop the flow of billions of pounds to organised crime gangs.

So, here we have a senior police officer trying to palm off the serial failure of his organisation and make the taxpayer pick up the tab! What next, decriminalise burglary?

This idea is wrong on so many levels;

1. WHY can the Police not hound these drug gangs into submission? Have they really tried? This is an admission of the failure of law enforcers.

2. Why are those who USE heroine not demonised in the same way as smokers, or drinkers? We should be locking them up, denying them their drug of choice, and not indulging their lifestyle choice.

3. Where will the CASH come from to fund this largesse through the NHS?

4. The liberal establishment are keen to decriminalise class A drugs as it fits into their metropolitan elitist worldview. The MISERY this will cause to so many people is as nothing to the feel good bleeding heart utopianism.

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55 thoughts on “HEROIN ON THE NHS…

  1. There is some merit in his arguments. No country has managed to stop drug use without draconian penalties, usually the death penalty for dealers and long prison sentences for users. I can see no way such penalties would ever be imposed in this country, we are horrified when a grandmother faces the death penalty in Bali for drug smuggling. As for penalties for users, you’d have half the “celebs” in this country in prison (actually something that I’s approve of!).
    So why not let users have drugs with certain caveats? Primarily that they should not expect treatment at the state’s expense, as the number of people cured of addiction is extremely small, even amongst the rich who can afford the best possible care.
    I, like, I suspect, many of my generation, take the view that if they kill themselves it is no ones fault but their own and that the country would be better of without such people.

  2. copy of e-mail to PCC, sent Saturday a.m.

    Dear Mr. Hogg,

    I refer to the statement issued by Durham’s most senior policeman, Chief Constable Mike Barton, on the subject of drugs, classified as Class A.

    He proposes that the United Kingdom move to a regime in which all Class A drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, are totally decriminalised, and all drug users given sympathetic treatment on the NHS.

    May I ask if Chief Constable Barton is speaking with the authority of your office, as Durham’s Crime Commissioner, or is he speaking in a purely personal and private capacity?

    If he is not speaking as the Chief Constable of County Durham, and with the support and commendation of your office, may I urge you to contact this officer, and remind him that the Law of this Land is to prosecute, without fear of favour, all those who break the Law, and until the Law is changed in Parliament, not in Durham’s County Hall; possession, supply and dealing in Class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine will be rewarded by prosecution and detention, not cuddly, criminal-friendly policies such as those which Chief Constable Barton is proposing.


    Mike Cunningham

    That same PCC was on the Today programme espousing exactly the same sentiments as his CCC (craven chief constable) As a firm Labour supporter, this is just what we should expect from this lily-livered bunch of liberal clowns and cowards.

  3. Don’t listen to anyone.

    Keep fighting the drug war, Canutes.

    The mafias in your town and across the world thank you very much.

  4. “Serial Tobacco Smoker Kills to fund his Addiction”.

    Not a headline I’ve ever seen, but the government insists that smoking is an ‘addiction’ like hardcore drug users.
    Crazy propaganda.

  5. WHY can the Police not hound these drug gangs into submission?

    The problem isn’t the drugs gangs. The problem is the fact that many of your neighbors, including people you know, like illegal drugs.

    Where will the CASH come from to fund this largesse through the NHS?

    You’d save ten times more that you spend for this in prison / drugs interdiction costs if you changed strategy on this.

    The liberal establishment are keen to decriminalise class A drugs as it fits into their metropolitan elitist worldview.

    Is the UK now a Fox News moronosphere , where everything is ” liberal ” vs ” conservative “?

    This is not an issue that can be properly thought of through any stereotyped left or right lens.

    In the US, it is noted that William F Buckley and Barry Goldwater supported legalization of marijuana. Marijuana isn’t the same as heroin, by a very long shot, but the some of the same questions must ba asked about both.

    Legalize them, control them, tax them, defund every f*** mafia and terrorist group on the planet. Or we can keep doing what we’re doing. You make the call.

  6. Marijuana used to be called hemp and hemp is an extremely beneficial plant in all ways. It produces resilient paper (isn’t the Declaration of Independence written on hemp?) and its oil and medicinal products are most useful against many of today’s ailments and diseases. In fact, it is so beneficial that it had to be demonised as ‘marijuana’ then banned:

    The Marijuana Conspiracy: The reason hemp is illegal

  7. Legalization of hemp production is a no brainer. Even Sen Rand Paul is for that now, as it could be a good crop in Kentucky.

  8. “Serial Tobacco Smoker Kills to fund his Addiction”.

    Back when heroin was legal and treated as a medical rather than a criminal problem there weren’t many people killing to feed heroin habits.

    The dangers associated with heroin are entirely due to its criminalisation.

  9. Also, in the UK when heroin was distributed through pharmacies the number of addicts was measured in the hundreds, once it was banned and criminals took over the supply then the numbers jumped into the hundreds of thousands- because criminals have an incentive to create new addicts.

  10. There are some compelling arguments for decriminalization of certain drugs though I am not sure if heroin should be among them.

    Among the worst arguments (standing alone) for decriminalization to me is because something is difficult to enforce.

  11. Mahons- the case for legalising heroin is much stronger than for a lot of drugs because most of the symptoms associated with it aren’t really true. It doesn’t make people emaciated and pock marked, it doesn’t make them unable to hold down a family or full time employment and it doesn’t spread disease.

    As a result of it being illegal some of those things do happen- because addicts abandon their normal routine for a fix but for pure medicated heroin the worst side effects are nausea and constipation. It is addictive but nicotine and alcohol are as well.

  12. Heroin is dangerous.

    It kills.

    I will never ever understand why any thinking person takes it the first time.

  13. Heroin is dangerous.

    Only because it has been made dangerous by prohibitionists. This sums up the effects of the actual drug pretty well:

    Start with the allegation that heroin damages the minds and bodies of those who use it, and consider the biggest study of opiate use ever conducted, on 861 patients at Philadelphia General Hospital in the 1920s. It concluded that they suffered no physical harm of any kind. Their weight, skin condition and dental health were all unaffected. ‘There is no evidence of change in the circulatory, hepatic, renal or endocrine functions. When it is considered that some of these subjects had been addicted for at least five years, some of them for as long as twenty years, these negative observations are highly significant.’

    Check with Martindale, the standard medical reference book, which records that heroin is used for the control of severe pain in children and adults, including the frail, the elderly and women in labour. It is even injected into premature babies who are recovering from operations. Martindale records no sign of these patients being damaged or morally degraded or becoming criminally deviant or simply insane. It records instead that, so far as harm is concerned, there can be problems with nausea and constipation.

    Or go back to the history of ‘therapeutic addicts’ who became addicted to morphine after operations and who were given a clean supply for as long as their addiction lasted. Enid Bagnold, for example, who wrote the delightful children’s novel, National Velvet, was what our politicians now would call ‘a junkie’, who was prescribed morphine after a hip operation and then spent twelve years injecting up to 350 mgs a day. Enid never – as far as history records – mugged a single person or lost her ‘herd instinct’, but died quietly in bed at the age of 91. Opiate addiction was once so common among soldiers in Europe and the United States who had undergone battlefield surgery that it was known as ‘the soldiers’ disease’. They spent years on a legal supply of the drug – and it did them no damage.

    We cannot find any medical research from any source which will support the international governmental contention that heroin harms the body or mind of its users. Nor can we find any trace of our government or the American government or any other ever presenting or referring to any credible version of any such research

  14. Ross

    If all that you quote is true (including the Martindale report) it begs the question as to why addictive opiates have been perceived by all advanced societies, for centuries, as being detrimental to that society’s well-being.
    There must be a logical reason why it has been proscribed for so long.

    If you can provide a sound answer, I may change my mind.

  15. I don’t know but something Theodore Dalrymple (who I think opposes legalisation) has suggested is that people who are prone to crime are much more likely to become heroin addicts.

    The criminality precedes the addiction (a large majority of heroin addicts in prison had been inside on previous occasions before they became addicts), but the correlation is perceived in the other direction.

  16. Maybe those who don’t obey one set of societal rules are more likely to disregard the rest of society’s rules?

  17. Incidentally I’m not saying “Heroin’s Awesome!”, addiction is still a problem even if it doesn’t stop you functioning.

  18. I don’t know, it seems to me that legal heroin would still be something that would cause a lot of damage to a lot of people in the same way alcohol does, but without any of the positives that alcohol provides.

  19. It is not IMO a good product.

    It is a horrible, unspeakable product.

    The only reason to legalize would be to gain some control over the sale of it, to completely defund the mafias, to completely end smuggling of it, and to use taxes on it to fund proper detox programs.

    And I don’t think use of heroin should ever be seen as acceptable by anyone at any time. Employers and anyone else should be free to not hire a heroin user, etc.

  20. Ed Koch once reportedly said legalizing drugs is the equivalent of extinguishing fire with napalm. I see where he was coming from. If drugs are legalized and thus cheaper, won’t there be more use of them? And don’t we lose the stigma of illegality associated with hard drugs like heroin? Isn’t it important for us as a society to say some things are wrong or immoral? Especially with something like heroin that has no intrinsic value?

    We save lives with laws against excessive speed. We will never eliminate all those who speed excessively, but we don’t give up the prohibition against speeding because it is more difficult to regulate. Not the best analogy, but certainly food for thought.

  21. Cigarettes are inherently harmful, and frankly so are guns the way many idiot Americans use and misuse them, and we haven’t banned those toxic products.

    I’m not proposing that any drugs be sold cheaper than at present. Have a tax markup that brings the price of legal imports to where it stands now as an illegal product. Use all the tax revenue, and then some for propaganda against drugs, and detox programs.

    Tobacco can show some of the way here. It is a shunned product, but it is legal everywhere.

  22. Listen, forget about cigarettes and drugs, shouldn’t you Americans be worried about your country shutting down tomorrow?

    How do you reckon it will go, Phantom or Mahons?

  23. I’m taking the Italian position – a benign disregard of the entire affair.

    I’m not reading about it at all and have no opinion, except that the likes of Ted Cruz and Barack Obama will put personal pride first, and the interests of the country, tenth.

  24. Noel – The whole thing is a circus. The Health Care Law is sufficiently Pavlovian to hard core Republican voters so that no Republican Congressman is going to feel anything but support from his base in engaging in this lunacy. Long term results may not be so good for them. Reasonable people can dislike or have doubts about the Health Care law without wanting to see a government shutdown in a fragile economy.

    I suppose we’ll have to wait and see like everyone else. Probably a half-assed compromise will be magically reached at the 11th hour, kicking the issue down the road once again.

  25. If drugs are legalized and thus cheaper, won’t there be more use of them?

    In theory that seems plausible- but when heroin was completely banned usage went up by a massive amount. From the same author I quoted earlier:

    Prohibition has not merely failed to cut the supply of illicit drugs: it has actively spread drug use. The easiest way for new users to fund their habit is to sell drugs and consume the profit; so they go out and find more new users to sell to; so it is that when one child in the classroom starts using, others soon join in; one user in the street and neighbours soon follow. Blackmarket drug use spreads geometrically. The Health Education Authority in 1995 found that 70% of people aged between eleven and thirty five had been offered drugs at some time. Pushers push. When Britain began to impose prohibition of heroin, in1968, there were fewer then 500 heroin addicts in Britain – a few jazz musicians, some poets, some Soho Chinese. Now, the Home Office says there may be as many as five hundred thousand. This is pyramid selling at its most brilliantly effective.

    If usage increased by up to a thousandfold after banning them (they were co

  26. If heroin was free, would you consider trying it, under any circumstance?

    Me neither.

    I question how much price impacts demand for a death product like this, though the high price sure as hell motivates production.

  27. Phantom – No I would not. But take off the danger of illegality, make it affordable and I wonder if everyone would be as wise.

  28. Who is saying that the price should be less?

    I have never said that. I’ve said that it should be the same as now.

    It should be a condemned product, something much lower than cigarettes, but one that is legal for any adult who wants to do that to himself, for the reasons stated.

  29. If the price is the same as now surely the criminal element will offer black market heroin thereby negating any benefit the reform might pose in terms of reducing that element.

  30. Presumably even a junkie would be smart enough to buy a legal and regulated product as opposed to something just flown into town inside a drug mule’s anus.

    Tweak the price as needed.

    Crush all the mafias and control the process.

    Or keep doing what we’re doing.

  31. It also depends on what we mean by legalise.

    There is complete legalisation, in which heroin could be purchased like alcohol is now. Then there’s making it a medical issue in which addicts can be registered by a doctor and have free heroin to take at a supervised clinic with clean needles and encouragement to quit.

    I used to favour the first option but now I think the second one is better.

    If all the addicts are taken away from the criminal suppliers then that would put them out of business but it would still be a difficult habit for new users to fall into.

  32. Phantom – An addict will go for the cheap and available rather than the pricey. I don’t see how there would not be a black market.

  33. Ross’s second option may be the way to go then, for completely undesirable drugs like heroin.

    There is a cost to society, but it is nothing as to what would be saved in policing, border control, prisons, all of it.

  34. I don’t know, now we are giving away heroin? In supervised facilities? Where is the discouragement? And would you like one of these facilities in your neighborhood?

    And could a doctor in good conscious and in accordance with the medical oath actually provide people with drugs merely for the purpose of getting high?

  35. I’ll take it you see there are also problems with legalization proposals.

    Combating drug abuse is difficult and costly and present efforts have not eradicated the scourge. Of course we legislate against burglary as well and haven’t eradicated it either (though no one is calling for the government to provide burglars with residences that can be broken into with awareness raising to discourage such activity).

    I think the conversation is a good one and that absolutes in any policy are probably not going to be the answer.

  36. Ross Agree 100% with your 9.15pm

    Prohibition has been tried and has failed, and at enormous cost. Fresh thinking is long overdue.

  37. Peter – I am not sure that legalization is necessarily fresh thinking, but rather different policy. What are you proposing – unlimited availability and quantity of any drug for all ages?

    We’ll have the government set up pleasure shops where people can purchase drugs with the money from jobs they won’t be able to hold on to?

    Increased availability would seem to me to be followed by increased usage and a public health crisis that would border on absolute chaos.

  38. No one is suggesting unlimited availability, esp for all ages.

    You make the huge presumption of increased usage, which I do not buy for one minute. Where there has been big time liberalization ( Holland ) I don’t believe that there is any higher usage than in prohibition countries.

  39. If you are limiting availability then you will still have the criminal element who will endeavor to provide to those who exceed the government allowed quota or to minors.

    If I am addicted to something that will be free well then I can assure you there will be increased usage by me.

  40. Yes, but despite their liberal policies on the softer drugs they themselves use less of both the soft and hard drugs than people in drug warrior nations.

  41. Phantom – Yes, but they have a much higher wooden shoe problem than we do.

    I am not sure the population and demographics serve to make the comparison 100% valuable, but there is no denying the statistics favor the Dutch.

  42. I think, taking the long view, the world is moving away from illegal drug production, or generally the countries (in the western hemisphere at least) where such hard drugs are produced are slowly coming into the fold of dreary civilised nations where the rule of law prevails.
    Modern high-tech surveillance, genetic engineering, … – technology is opening up new ways of combating big-time manufacture, and within a generation or two the drug barons will have to find some other occupation and addicts some other comfort.
    There’s no point in slacking now. Any liberalisation could have unforseeable consequences; at any rate it’s a very shaky claim that consumption will fall if availabilty increases.
    Too many lives have been wrecked already. We need a surge in the war on drugs, I say.

  43. As with sensible places like NY as respects gun regulation, the sensible Dutch live in a world of drugs warriors. Both NY and the Dutch are impacted by neighboring jursisdictions with bad policy, produced by bad thinking.

    I don’t have all the answers, but I will say that the current system is the worst of all worlds.

    Either you go down the road of sustantial legalization / decriminalization, or you start executing all users and dealers. And if you have to only execute one group, execute the users, because without them there will be no dealers.

  44. // the statistics favor the Dutch//

    The Dutch also had a much lower per capita abortion rate than Ireland even back in the grey days, when abortion was freely available in Holland and even contraception was forbidden in Erin.

    They are a pretty savvy people, and extremely ambitious (at least by European standards). I’d imagine it’s not so much greater virtue on their part than that they seem to want to devote their time more to making money.

  45. at any rate it’s a very shaky claim that consumption will fall if availabilty increases.

    No but you can say that in the past consumption did increase massively when availability was restricted. It is possible that it was a coincidence but it doesn’t seem likely that banning it has done much to stop people using it.

    There may have been other factors beyond criminalisation- perhaps political turmoil in heroin producing regions like South East Asia and Iran but I doubt it is purely a question of supply.

  46. The way I see it the goals of a drugs policy should be:

    – To stop harm coming to the general community.
    – To stop harm coming to those who use the drugs.
    – To reduce overall usage levels.

    In that order.

    The harm to the general community comes in the form of crime- by addicts and by criminal gangs supplying it, the spread of diseases like hepatitis, the costs of policing it and the costs of users being unfit to provide for themselves.

    If heroin is medically available then addicts won’t commit so much crime to fund their habits (although many of them will have been criminals before they took heroin). With fewer addicts to supply then criminal gangs would not have such a lucrative source of funding.

    As for disease- that comes mostly from sharing needles- which wouldn’t happen in a controlled environment. And when the drug was legal people did seem to be able to mostly function in society much in the way those addicted to painkillers can now.

    For the addicts themselves the costs are disease, general neglect of themselves and the increased likelihood of getting a criminal record. Again all problems that diminish with other approaches from criminalisation.

    This is without even considering the effects that western consumption and banning of certain narcotics has in the countries that produce them.

  47. What you say makes sense, Ross, but only in a controlled environment; and in that case doctors will always go for a replacement drug like Methadone that has a longer lasting effect in the body. All in all something quite different to legalising sale of heroin.

    Methadone clinics are a good idea, has been tried and found to be successful in many places.

  48. Ross

    Your priorities list doesn’t even mention

    Defunding mafias and terror groups that work with them

    That goes way beyond immediate situation crime that a dealer and his muscle guys employ on the streets.

    And it is very wrong to care primarily about us fat dumb and stupid westerners. We suck, and we haven’t suffered at all, and we are the problem, not any outside gangs. It is our demand for what is now illegal that is causing huge social disruption in the poor countries of this earth, with many deaths in Latin America.

    If the drug craving weaklings of the west can’t stop wanting drugs, then find a way to keep manage the situation. And this would be the ultimate multinational negotiation, since many Peruvians, Mexicans, Colombians and others have died for your sins, and for those of your Irish, English, and American neighbors down the street from you.

  49. Ross wins.

    I’m rather surprised all this talk is of an organic opiate rather than the more serious problem of methamphetamine use – one of the most antisocial, seriously destructive, highly addictive and deadly drugs anywhere on the market.

    Maybe it hasn’t made headway in the UK, but meth is tearing up rural america. The stuff is skinny cheap to make and bare bones cheap to get high on. The mexicans are importing it by the ton and it kills people pretty damn quick, but not before rendering them nearly inhuman. The addiction rate is sky high for early users and the ramifications are god awful.

    I’m wholly in favor of treating addicts or abetting their benign addictions through a combination of market and state controlled solutions. I support decriminalization of all addicts or recreational users found to be holding.

    I wouldn’t decriminalize meth or coke dealers, those guys are peddling pure evil. I think they should be nailed to the wall with severe prison sentences.

  50. Crystal meth ( hillbilly heroin ) abuse, like oxycontin abuse, is something whose abuse is not uniform in the US.

    Usage rates are off the charts higher in Missouri ( five or ten times higher? and in the mountain states, than they are in NYC / Northeast. You hardly hear about it in NYC. Our morons do cocaine.

    Meth seems tied to rural / exurban despair. From places where the agriculture and manufacturing jobs started leaving 50 years ago, and were largely gone 10 years ago, due to automation, loss of family farms, outsourcing.

    As with heroin, i will never understand why anyone takes it the first time.

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