Govt to give free ‘heroin equipment’ to drug users

Home Secretary Theresa May has decided that heroin users should get free tin foil, which they can use to heat up the drug.

Mrs May hopes it will help addicts take their first steps towards treatment, and encourage them to smoke rather than inject heroin.

But four years ago, Government advisers looked into a similar scheme which was met with criticism from the Tory front bench.


James Brokenshire, the former Conservative shadow home affairs minister, said there was too much focus on “maintaining people on drugs” rather than “getting people drug-free”.

Mrs May said in a written ministerial statement last week: “The available evidence shows that the provision of foil can encourage people to take their first steps into treatment, reducing the immediate harm and facilitating the onward journey towards recovery and abstinence.”

“By lawfully providing foil under strict conditions, we also tackle the significant health risks associated with injecting behaviours, including the transmission of dangerous blood borne viruses.”


She said legislation would “carefully monitor” implementation.

Mrs May has accepted recommendations by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to change the law to provide foil to drug users.

Aluminium foil is used as a surface to heat heroin which is then smoked.


Heroin is a Class A drug, possession is illegal and can lead to a seven year jail sentence.

Plans in Brighton to sanction official drug rooms in the city came under fire earlier this year.

Columnist Peter Hitchens described the idea as “stupid” and a drugs misuse expert warned it could “deliver a massive headache for the police and the courts”.

And Melanie Phillips said that such drug rooms “risk turning whole areas into drug hot-spots”, and institutionalise hard drug use.

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