HEROIN SHOULD BE FREE FOR ADDICTS
Swiss Policy On Heroin Shows Realistic Response To Desperate Problem
Sir, You report in detail that Switzerland has made access to heroin free to registered users ( Thunderer, Dec 1 ).
We have suffered the death of a son who was a heroin addict and have come face to face with its lasting damaging effects. His condition both mentally and physically, together with the family distress that his addiction caused, could have been dealt with more effectively had heroin addiction been declared and treated as a "notifiable" disease. It is suggested that control of cultivation and supply by agencies such as the UN, the World Health Organisation or Nato might place society in a better position to deal with this as a notifiable disease. Might we see a truce in Afghanistan?
The massive support ( 69 per cent ) shown by the Swiss referendum to provide free heroin to addicts is a mature and realistic response in how to deal with a desperate problem. The 60 per cent reduction in heroin-related crimes alone in Switzerland should encourage our society to follow its example.
One significant long-term benefit that may emerge from this approach will be that by making heroin addiction a notifiable disease and publicising it as such, we may see a long-term decline in addiction rates for this drug. Anything that deglorifies this habit in the eyes of children has got to be an improvement in how we are currently dealing with it. Let's remove the tawdry "street market" attraction for heroin addiction and place it in the hands of the medical profession.