Posted: Tue 6th Oct 2020

North Wales police commissioner to seek support for pilot scheme giving prescribed heroin to addicts via online event

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Oct 6th, 2020

The North Wales police and crime commissioner is set to hold an online event to seek support for a pilot scheme to give prescribed heroin to drug addicts.

Arfon Jones has previously outlined plans to establish a heroin assisted treatment scheme in the region after claiming it would save lives, reduce crime, cut costs and reduce the scale of the illicit drug market.

He wrote to 10 Flintshire councillors in a bid to get support for a trial of the scheme in Shotton, Queensferry and Connah’s Quay.

A similar initiative was launched in Cleveland in the north-east of England last year with the blessing of then Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who allowed it to go ahead under licence.

It allows people with problematic drug use to be given medical-grade heroin – diamorphine – at special centres where they can inject themselves twice a day, seven days a week.

Mr Jones is hosting the online conference on Monday 1 November to raise awareness and gain support for the implementation of a pilot scheme in North Wales.

There will be a range of speakers on the day to provide an overview of the benefits of heroin assisted treatment, while sharing their own personal experiences and the science behind the programme.

It has been estimated the initiative will cost about £12,000 a year for each addict, which is said to be a fraction of the cost of the crime they commit.

Mr Jones previously said he believed it should be funded by the area planning board, which together with the local health board, has an annual budget of £10 million a year to spend on schemes aimed at combating substance abuse.

The commissioner’s office has published the following FAQs ahead of next month’s event:

What is Heroin Assisted Treatment?

Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT) is a public health approach to treat individuals with a long-term opioid addiction who have been unresponsive to other treatments.

Patients attend a specialised clinic up to two times a day to receive and take their prescription under the supervision of medically trained staff.

How does it work?

HAT provides users with a designated clinic where they receive their heroin prescription and have access to health services and support.

Those who would be eligible for HAT generally live a chaotic lifestyle where access to support and health services are limited.

By attending a clinic on a daily basis patients will have regular access to health professionals, housing services and support services.

Those who are entrenched in addiction spend their days looking for their next ‘fix’ and are unable to lead normal lives. HAT allows patients to start treatment and gradually return to living a stable life.

More information on the conference, including how to book, can be found at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/colli-llais-colli-bywyd-lost-voices-lost-lives-tickets-118288808009

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