UK Heroin addicts to be given free foil from NHS

August 8, 2014

Today the UK Government announced that, starting in September, the NHS and privately-run treatment centers will be legally allowed to distribute free foil to heroin users. As injecting is the most harmful method of consuming drugs, especially over the long term, encouraging the use of foil as an alternative to injecting can be seen as a valuable harm reduction strategy that is both cost-effective and easy to implement.

As noted by Release, a drugs law organization in the UK:

"Smoking/inhaling heroin and crack greatly reduces the chances of a fatal overdose, the likelihood of transmitting a blood borne viruses (HIV, Hep C & B), and eliminating the risks of abscesses, DVT, gangrene and other injecting-related complications. Inhaling is not without its risks, notwithstanding, the thermal effects on the lungs and the risks of infections that are contained within the drug, e.g. anthrax and clostridium or infections from non-injecting routes but, on balance of associated harms, it is still considered better than injecting."

Heroin addicts to be given free foil to help them kick their habit
The Independent - August 7, 2014

Heroin addicts are to be given free foil - to heat up the drug - in an effort to help them kick the habit and cut the risk of contracting disease, the Government will announce tomorrow.

They will be offered the foil to encourage them to inhale, rather than inject, class A substances, as part of programmes to tackle their addiction.

Addicts use aluminium foil to warm heroin and breathe in its fumes in a practice nicknamed "chasing the dragon". Substances such as crystal meth and cocaine can be inhaled in the same way.

Critics will raise questions over any move that enables drug users to maintain their habit, but the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) concluded last year that offering foil can help an addict's eventual recovery.

Providing aluminium foil is safer than addicts buying tin foil used in cooking as that contains vegetable oil which can be toxic when breathed in.

Health experts also argue that smoking heroin stops users contracting blood-borne viruses like HIV and hepatitis B through shared needles, cuts damage to veins and soft tissue and reduces the risk of overdose.

Continue reading at The Independent...

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