Police to give heroin to addicts twice a day to stop them offending


Police scheme to give heroin to addicts twice a day to stop them offending is described as a ‘chance in a lifetime’

  • Police spend £11,000 on diamorphine to give to 11 of the district’s heroin addicts
  • Cleveland Police say none of the addicts re-offended in more than three months
  • The addicts must themselves with diamorphine under supervision for project
  • One addict called scheme, which started in October, ‘the chance of a lifetime’ 

Police are giving heroin to the worst addicts to stop them committing crimes. 

Cleveland Police in Middlesbrough, which has the highest rate of drug-related deaths in Britain, spent more than £11,000 on diamorphine to give to 11 of the district’s most entrenched addicts. 

None of the 11 addicts who injected themselves with diamorphine under supervision for the project had re-offended in the 15 weeks since the scheme was launched.  

One 42-year-old man who has been addicted to heroin for 20 years said he used to shoplift £80 worth of goods every day to feed his habit. A stock image is used above [File photo]

One addict called the scheme, which started in October, ‘the chance of a lifetime’.

One woman is now looking at entering rehab and one participant is reducing his diamorphine intake. 

The addicts have also put on weight and look healthier and can begin to address the cause of their addiction now they are not looking for street heroin and committing crime to pay for it.

Cleveland police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger said the 11 participants had committed more than 900 detected crimes and their offending had cost the taxpayer £3.7 million

Cleveland police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger said the 11 participants had committed more than 900 detected crimes and their offending had cost the taxpayer £3.7 million

A 42-year-old man who has been addicted to heroin for 20 years said he used to shoplift £80 worth of goods every day to feed his habit.

He said: “I’ve been in treatment since 1999 and I’ve never gone without heroin in all that time.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in jail, but I used in there as well.

“I want to be totally abstinent of everything and then help other people do it.

“I’ve been through it and I know what the problems are.

“This scheme might not work for everyone but it’s worked for me and it’s worked for the other people that I’m on the programme with.

“There’s not many of us on it and we’ve been given the chance of a lifetime and you can see the difference in everyone.”

Cleveland police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger said the 11 participants had committed more than 900 detected crimes and their offending had cost the taxpayer £3.7 million, using an official calculation method. 

Mr Coppinger hoped to expand the scheme to other areas using money seized from criminals.

He said: “It’s my intention to use funding seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act to go back into our communities, to repair the harm that the illegal drug trade has wrought not only to those on the programme, but to our entire society.”

Clinical lead Danny Ahmed said: “Evidence from countries like Canada and Switzerland told us that heroin assisted treatment could work here in Middlesbrough, but I continue to be impressed with overwhelming change in our participants in such a short time frame.

“The majority of these individuals have battled addiction for decades and they are finally able to lift their head out of the daily struggle of substance use and look forward to living life.” 

The addicts have also put on weight and look healthier and can begin to address the cause of their addiction now they are not looking for street heroin and committing crime to pay for it

The addicts have also put on weight and look healthier and can begin to address the cause of their addiction now they are not looking for street heroin and committing crime to pay for it

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