Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1200
TUESDAY 22 JANUARY 2002
OBE, MRS MARY
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.