Select Committee on Home Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1200 - 1203)



  1200. Do you not agree it would be easier to regulate over dosage and the quality if it was prescribed and administered in controlled circumstances?
  (Mr Raynes) I am against open-ended maintenance forever because of the needs of society. I am happy to have a programme designed to get somebody off heroin, it is the best thing, on a reducing basis, on the Dutch system. Even Mr Wilkinson, ex-Chief Constable of Gwent, in his paper does not talk about open-ended maintenance for everybody, he talks about 20 per cent of Fred Broughton's group and selecting the ones that you are going to do it to. If it is within a programme I think I can support that, that is the Dutch system. The open-ended maintenance for everyone is an enormous risk to society and the cost of it to the NHS. I have two close relatives, one old and one young who both have had pay for operations, will society stand for the divergence of resource from the NHS? That is why I talked about reality seepage.

  1201. You are right about that, only if it can be argued there are other larger benefits to society in terms of crime reduction, needles not lying round on the streets, and all of the rest of it.
  (Mr Raynes) I think the crime reduction question, a lot of people are involved in crime anyway, it is too complex an area. We are always looking, and politicians are always looking for instance solutions, it is not like that.

  1202. I think if we have learned one thing in the course of the inquiry is there are no instant, simple solutions.
  (Mr Raynes) One of the things we have not mentioned much is Sweden, it has a very low prevalence because of the culture and attitude of the Government and the population makes drug use unacceptable. It has firm, fair drug laws and consistent messages against drug use and that is what has resulted in low drug prevalence. It is a pity the Committee has not taken some more—

  1203. We have received all of your e-mails of people accusing us of this and that, we are actually doing most of the things you think we are not doing. At the moment we are seeking somebody from Sweden to come and give evidence to us. I should say to you that the witnesses we had from Switzerland and Holland both said to us that the Swedish experiment was not all that it was cracked up to be.
  (Mr Raynes) We have suggested different witnesses.

  Chairman: We will certainly look at that. We are going to have to draw this to an end here today, and the number of witnesses we can take. Every time we have one witness somebody suggests another five because that one has not given the right perspective. Mr Raynes, Mrs Brett and Mr Broughton, thank you very much for coming along today, your evidence has been extremely helpful, it will help us on the balance.

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