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Prison Drugs Con

March 17th 2008

The Government are fooling us and, probably, themselves on the success of their prison drugs policies. Two of my constituents are among their ''successes'' Both went to prison as heroin users and came out clean. One, a young woman, lived for a week after discharge. The man lived for a day. Both took their usual heroin dose and the body would not tolerated it after a period of abstinence.

They are both there somewhere in the Government’s statistics as instances of prisoners leaving prison drug-free. UK Drug Policy Commission today said that for the 40,000 prisoners who go through detox while in jail, a lack of proper aftercare meant many went straight back to using hard drugs when they left prison.

And that one in 200 injecting heroin users would be dead from an overdose within a fortnight of being released. 'Success' has a bitter taste for their loved ones.

After ten years of vast investments, no prison in Britain in free of illegal drug use. One prisoner told a visiting Tory MP’, ‘I need an aspirin for toothache. I can’t get it until tomorrow when I see the doctor. But I go out from here now and get heroin, cannabis or cocaine in the next five minutes.’

The Commission complained of a lack of evidence for the effectiveness of drug-treatments in prison. Yet still we blunder on, fearing to think because the real solutions are un-popular.

Easier to do what Governments of both parties have done for the past 40 years. Stick to the  slogan,

‘The Policy is not working – so let’s do more of it.’