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Prescribe heroin to addicts – nurse

A nursing leader has claimed that drug addicts should be prescribed heroin on the NHS.

Giving heroin on the NHS would help wean addicts off the drug and lead to lower crime rates, according to Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Speaking in a personal capacity at the RCN’s annual conference, he said: “I do believe in heroin prescribing.

“The fact is heroin is very addictive. People who are addicted so often resort to crime, to steal to buy the heroin. It obviates the need for them to steal. It might take a few years but I think people will understand.

“Critics say you are encouraging drug addiction but the reality is that these people are addicts and they are going to do it anyway.”

Several nurses agreed with the approach when debating the issue.

But Gail Brooks, from the RCN’s UK safety representatives committee, was against the idea, saying: “Where would this stop? If you do this for heroin do you have to do this for every other drug out there? Can our NHS afford this?”

Copyright Press Association 2010

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