I came across this article and thought it was extremely interesting. Evidently the prisoners in the UK are not being rehabilitated from drugs but are being maintained in their drug habits. Personally I think it's wrong because many of the inmates are their because of drug related offenses. I feel that they should be taken off the maintenance drugs and taught how to live drug free lives. How do you feel about this????
Mark Easton | 21:24 UK time, Tuesday, 8 December 2009
One of the government's former drug "tsars" has told me how a battle between two Whitehall departments is undermining efforts to get prisoners off heroin.
Mike Trace, who currently heads a charity which runs drug rehab programs in jails, says that the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health are "fighting each other about who runs treatment in prisons".
The result, he says, is that last year a record 20,000 English prisoners were prescribed the addictive heroin substitute methadone instead of being encouraged to use their time inside to get drug-free.
"It is madness," he says. Mr Trace claims the reason health ministers agreed to spend £40m on drug services in prisons is "not because they love methadone, it's because they want to take control of prison **************".
Methadone can be an effective tool in helping heroin addicts conquer addiction but critics argue that too often drug services use it as an easy option and are not ambitious enough in getting users "clean".
In a rehab center in Burton-upon-Trent recently, I met many former prisoners all telling a similar story - that prison doctors are "doling out" heroin substitutes and making it less likely they will get off drugs. Only now, after their release, have they been able to get help to give up all drugs for good.
One ex-con, Barry Jones, told me that prisons now use methadone as a way of "keeping the roof on" - to control prisoners. "I was never even asked why you do it. Just given a dose, told to get my head down. Don't kick your door. Don't kick off."
Another, David Bywater, said:
"Things can get difficult if you are shoplifting or whatever you are doing. So you think, I will go to a prison for a bit of a rest period. You know you are going to get your drugs, methadone and what have you, so you are better off inside."
Andrew Whalley was recently released after spending 10 years behind bars for a drug-related robbery with a firearm. In jail, he told me, methadone was the most certain way of ensuring he remained an addict and a criminal.
"We don't want to get stabilized, get maintained," he told me. "I'm an addict, so if you give me free methadone, free drugs, keep me in active addiction, then release me out of prison, then surely when I come out of prison I've got to commit crime to keep me there."
He listed all the prescription drugs he had been given by doctors while in jail: methadone, diazepam, subutex, sleeping pills. "Was he ever offered rehab?" he was asked. "The last course I was offered was a safer injecting course," he replied.
In a joint statement tonight, the Department of Health and the Ministry of Justice said:
"It is categorically untrue to say methadone is used as any sort of control mechanism. Decisions regarding treatment are clinically based.
"The program includes abstinence, but all treatments are aimed at getting the person off drugs. The rise in prisoners getting methadone treatment means more prisoners are getting the treatment they need and there has been significant investment in prison clinical ************** to help this happen. Most prison methadone prescribing is for detoxification not maintenance purposes... with the goal of becoming drug free."
I sure agree Molly, this drug is being used for control purposes and not with the intention of conquering addiction...
the prisoners get 'free' drugs in prison what incentive do they have to want to get clean?
Methadone for addicts needs to be tapered off with the purpose of weaning NOT to be kept on continually as a maintenance....they get out still actively addicted and carry on with heroin. Sounds like NO treatment options either!
I agree. Also, I was watching Law & Order SVU the other day and they highlighted a story about a drug that is available that can cure a heroin addict of their addiction within 48 hours. My husband has read of this also in Scientific American. The problem is that the drug companies don't want to produce it as they make more money with the inadequate drugs that aren't doing the job. Such a shame!
Because many of these prisoners are in there because of drug related offenses, you'd think that the system would try and rehabilitate them minus the Methadone so that they could lead productive lives. I find this very disturbing to say the least. I can't believe their system would allow this. Not here in America...There would be outcry if this happened here.
me being a methadone user i know i have been to jail going thru no hving methadone i would killmy self if i could itis really bad just going cold turkey it is different then pain pills even useing a needle methadone gts in your bones i would have to say i u was n jail and whent there on methadone i would have to agree o have it be giving to the prisoners but ithink it should be towhere u get down dosed and not be on it that long and soon b off of it all together
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