Government supports abstinence-based drug rehab for prisoners

Prescribing methadone for heroin addiction in prisons must be replaced by “abstinence-based methods,” Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said.

The new measures are proposed in the White Paper on the Prison Strategy for England and Wales, to tackle drug addiction in the prison population.

In a review done for the government, Professor Dame Carol Black said one in three prisoners had a serious drug addiction problem.

Failure of “harm reduction”

Speaking ahead of the launch of the White Paper, Raab told the Justice Committee that “too many offenders are, indeed, being placed on methadone and other opioid substitutes” in an attempt to reduce harm rather than help to recover.

“But,” the Minister of Justice continued, “methadone is more difficult to eliminate than heroin. It is more addictive than heroin.

“You have to ask yourself, if they stay there indefinitely, to what extent does that contribute to recovery. “

The approach in prisons, he said, needed to change to one that focused on “ending addiction addiction”, not “replacing” it.

“A life without drugs”

In his preface to the White Paper, Raab pledged that the government would put in place a full range of drug treatment, “including abstinence-based methods, to help more inmates deal with their drug addiction.”

The long-term vision strategy for prisons outlined in the document includes a “zero tolerance” approach to drugs and aims to rebuild “drug-free lives” by providing treatment that helps inmates progress “to drug-free”. abstinence ”throughout their stay in the system and beyond. .

Julie Muir, director of Forward Trust, which runs a successful abstinence service in prison, told the Daily Telegraph: “Abstinence-based programs are an important part of the support we provide to manage and mitigate adverse effects. of addiction.

She added, “As a society, we must do more to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to recover, no matter who they are. “

Also see:

Police Commissioner wants “cannabis for convicts”

Scottish government under fire for continuing drug ‘harm reduction’ policy

Twice drug use among young people ONS estimate

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