Not long after I posted a report on the bias of government think-tanks in response to the recent call for a sensible discussion on ‘the war on drugs’, Kathryn Gyngell (who is a research fellow for ‘the centre for policy study’) has appeared on the BBC saying £3.6 bn is ‘wasted’ on addicts who used prescription drugs such as methadone and instead should be spent on ‘rehabilitation’. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13828582 This is not justified.
Firstly, how should one accept the report of a government-led think-tank? With skepticism. The need for independent research is clearly needed.
Secondly, use of this ballpark figure to levy public opinion against the medication of addicts is irresponsible. One could easily turn around and say: we ‘wasted’ £850bn on the banking sector bailout – this is ‘grossly imbalanced’!! http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/163850bn-official-cost-of-the-bank-bailout-1833830.htmlThe reason we pay to keep addicts on ‘methadone’ (which has been proven to be even more addictive than heroin for addicts) is to prevent addicts from littering the streets and causing crime. Just as with the prison systems (which cost the British taxpayer considerable amounts each and every year) the need for these systems are to keep society safe. We NEED to spend money on housing paedophiles, rapists and murderers – otherwise it would be a most unwise and dangerous society. The same logic applies to IV drug users.
There is a need to encourage drug users to kick their habits. As the report relates specifically to heroin and opiates, we need to put the habits of this addiction first. As is known, an element of dishonesty and relapse is prevalent. In this case, although rehabilitation should be encouraged – would we rather these drug users were breaking into peoples houses, becoming party to prostitution and entering the prison communities? (which will cost the public even more than paying benefits and methadone prescriptions)
As previously stated, let us see how many more ‘reports’ will come out of the woodwork. I do not doubt that, with the austerity cuts, the current government will try and find more and more ways to cut frontline and social services and shuffle controversial topics to the back of the pile with irrelevant research fronted by think-tanks. What we need to ask is: ‘where has all our money gone?’ – and keep asking it – it’s all in the hands of the bankers!!