Prisoners in Scotland are set to be given free drug sterilisation kits in a controversial bid to help them inject heroin more ‘safely’, according to The Scottish Daily Mail.
Critics blasted the scheme as a “gross insult” to the victims of crime and called for more to be done to get inmates off drugs.
The kits contain a cooker, foil, hand cleaner, pre-injection swab, a filter, a citric acid sachet and a leaflet on how to clean a needle and a syringe.
Margaret Watson, from the campaign group Justice for Victims, said: “This is astonishing.
“It’s a way of rewarding drug addicts and is just another example of the way the penal system has become a laughing stock.”
Richard Baker, the Scottish Labour justice spokesman, said: “Schemes like this are about harm reduction and will not rehabilitate anyone.”
He added: “The SNP should be stopping the drugs trade in our prisons by introducing more checks and tough action against dealers.”
His concerns were echoed by Scottish Tory spokesman John Lamont who cautioned: “Its one thing to try to reduce harm to drug taking prisoners but the real drive has to be to get prisoners to give up drugs altogether.”
Despite heroin being illegal some inmates continue taking the drug, using shared needles, whilst in prison.
Officials at the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) claim that it’s more effective to offer inmates drug sterilisation kits than try and get them off drugs.
They claim that helping them inject drugs ‘safely’ will limit the spread of infections such as HIV and Hepatitis C.
A spokesman for the SPS said: “We encourage prisoners to address their addiction problems and we offer a range of services and help for them to do that.”
The controversial drugs kits have so far been tried in a limited form but the SPS is keen to increase their usage.
Earlier this year it was revealed an English police force planning to hand out DIY drug kits containing clean needles and advice on how to safely inject heroin. Critics labelled the scheme as “farcical”.
The so-called “Harm Reduction Kits” were to be issued by Cambridgeshire Police to addicts who refused to take part in a drug withdrawal programme as part of a week-long trial.
But former Home Office minister Ann Widdecombe slammed the scheme, saying: “We should be preventing heroin use, not sanitising the use of the drug.”
And local MP David Davies said: “I am astonished by this initiative. My understanding is that it is the police’s job to catch drug dealers and possession of drugs is also against the law.”