Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


An alternative to the war on drugs

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 13 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c3360

Rapid Response:

Heroin, in particular

The costs to individuals, police, courts and government of the
illegal activities relating to trafficking of heroin are over £10 billion.
If action is taken to legalise heroin, the following benefits would be
likely to accrue.

1.reduction of crime.

2.saving of police and court time and reduction in prison places required.

3.practices or clinics could ensure that regular injections of pure heroin
are offered under hygeinic and safe conditions.

4.most addicts would be able to work.

5.part of support will be to help socially and with work. cooperation would be desirable, or even essential.

7.growing of poppies and manufacture of heroin would become a legitimate
trade, producing taxes for the relevant authorities.

It is not certain that all drugs could be treated in a similar fashion.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 July 2010
Mike R Maybury
retired retailer
Portsmouth. PO1 3JA