UK: Prescribe Heroin on the NHS, Says Nurse Leader

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Injection Rooms ‘Would Cut Crime and Infection Rates’ But Opponents Warn of Slippery Slope

The NHS should offer heroin to drug addicts and open “consumption rooms” where users can go to inject under medical supervision in order to cut crime and keep public spaces free from dirty needles, the head of Britain’s biggest nursing union said today.

Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing ( RCN ), said providing heroin on the NHS would cut crime rates and help wean addicts off the drug.

Speaking in a personal capacity after a debate on the issue at the RCN’s annual conference in Bournemouth, 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.”

He said he was aware of the controversy over how chronic drug users should be treated, but said: “It might take a few years but I think people will understand.  If you are going to get people off heroin then in the initial stages we have to have proper heroin prescribing services.”