Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Parents and Addicts against Narcotics in the Community (PANIC)[3]

  1.  Who is PANIC? PANIC is a community-based and community-led organisation of parents and heroin addicts. Heroin users and their families formed PANIC in Teesside to challenge what we believe is inadequate and misdirected statutory and official responses to the heroin epidemic in the region.

  2.  We challenge the singular focus, priority and reliance on community detoxification based in methadone treatment when it is known that it does not work. Common sense tells us that the very high crime, criminal justice, prison, health and other costs incurred through widespread heroin addiction would be avoided if money were spent on trying other approaches such as residential detoxification and rehabilitation.

  3.  National Treatment Outcome Returns (NTORs) suggest that the success rate for Residential Rehabilitation compared to Community Detoxification is similar at 50 per cent for each. However this comparison is false because only the worse cases go to Residential Detoxification, which is used as a treatment of last resort.

  4.  There is a lack of support and monies for grassroots and voluntary community agencies. Most Community Against Drugs and SRB monies are used to prop up statutory services that in many cases are ineffective.

  5.  Users and carers have little representation on DAT committees where statutory agencies dominate yet continue to deliver ineffective services.

  6.  We believe that if the range of treatments have been tried and have failed for individuals then in such cases the controlled prescribing of diamorphine should be made available.

  7.  The involvement of families and relations is crucial as they carry the costs and burdens of care and support particularly the stress that having a user at home engenders. Support is best from peers and therefore the focus should be on communities and people on the ground not on statutory agencies.

March 2002

3   Tina Williams, Dianne Oliver and Gillian Ford. Back

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