LONDON – Homeless drug users in Scotland will be allowed to inject pharmaceutical-grade heroin twice daily under the supervision of physicians as part of a new program to reduce drug-related deaths and HIV Infection.
From 9am to 5pm. According to the Glasgow City Council, a handful of drug users can receive doses of the drug seven days a week at a $ 1.5 million facility in Glasgow, which opened on Tuesday, in addition to other treatments for their physical and mental health ,
The pilot project, known as heroin-assisted treatment, is the first such licensed operation in Scotland, a country known as the "Drug Death Capital of the World." It had problems dealing with high rates of deadly drug overdoses and their consequences of worst HIV outbreaks in decades.
The program targets those who have "the most serious, long-lived and complex addiction problems," the city council said.
The aim is to reduce the risk of overdoses and the spread of viruses such as H.I.V. by prescribing diamorphine – the clinical name for heroin of pharmaceutical grade – for patients to be injected under the supervision of trained physicians in a safe clinical room.
The clinic opened in Glasgow, Scotland's largest city after the British Home Office approved it. It is a license and follows a similar initiative launched last month in Middlesbrough, England.
Up to 20 patients are expected in the first year of the Glasgow program, with the number expected to double next month, second year.
"Heroin-assisted treatment is a much more clinical service that aims to improve people's health," said Andrew McAuley, chief investigator for substance use at Glasgow Caledonian University, in an interview Wednesday. "The program is a significant step forward, albeit for a very small number of people."
The program, named Enhanced Drug Treatment Service, is for those who have exhausted other treatment options, such as residential rehabilitation. Methadone and Community Addiction Services. It is only available to drug users who are already involved in combating addiction among homeless people in the city.
The program is not designed to be long-term, as research shows that the clinical benefit becomes apparent after six weeks of treatment.
According to McAuley, patients must visit the city hospital twice a day, seven days a week. "It's a big commitment," he said.
Glasgow has ambitious plans to assist its residents with drug problems, but Scottish officials say it was obstructed by the 1971 British Drugs Act.
Glasgow officials have been pressing for years to set up consumption rooms in the city where drug users can inject their own drugs in a safe, clean environment. Their efforts, however, were rejected by the British Government.
The 1971 UK Misuse of Drugs Act provides that anyone who "participates in the management of premises" or any resident who knowingly permits the manufacture of drugs, can be prosecuted.
"It's still illegal to have safe points of consumption, which keeps us from most Western countries," said McAuley, whose research group will evaluate the Glasgow program. "Glasgow is arguably the most compelling case for a drug consumption center."
Austin Smith, a clerk at the Scottish Drugs Forum, a national expert source on drug use issues, said, "This part of the law should prevent people from opening opium caves, and it should never be prevented from providing secure services
In countries such as Australia, Canada, France and Switzerland, more than 100 supervised consumer services have been set up and Germany, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, a New York-based organization committed to ending it
A report on Scotland's drug problem published this month by the British Parliament in Scottish Affairs The committee approved the treatment method.
"Safe facilities for drug use have been shown to reduce the number of drug-related deaths and can be used as a gate for further treatment, "said Pete Wishart, chairman of the committee. "Any drug-related death is preventable and these centers could play a crucial role in overcoming the drug crisis in Scotland." Record high. The deadly drug overdose was highest among older users.
The number of deaths directly caused by drugs has risen almost annually in Scotland since records began in the mid-nineties. And the number has risen dramatically: According to the National Records of Scotland (19459002), there were 1,187 drug-related deaths from 244 in 1996.
The drug death rate in Scotland is almost three times that of the UK and the highest in the European Union.
Scotland has even outperformed the US 217 quota by a dozen million drug-related deaths per million.
The number of homeless drug users with H.I.V. in Glasgow has also increased in recent years, which has been attributed to a study of sharing needles and other equipment. City health professionals say the outbreak has still not been contained.
"This challenging social problem requires innovative treatments," said Glasgow Alcohol and Drug Partnership Chair Susanne Millar in a statement on Tuesday.
"People might be wondering why health services are spending money to provide heroin to people with substance abuse problems," she said. "The answer is that we can not afford not to do it."