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Tony Makara

A major problem with drugs is the culture that surrounds it. Very often we see that the music scene becomes the gateway to drug addiction. Music magazines, recording companies and film makers often produce material that openly encourages drug abuse and are frivolous in their approach to drugs. This must end. The future Conservative government must work to ensure that those in a position of responsibility and with access to youth culture, must show a serious attitude to drugs. There are many people addicted to drugs today because they were lured into the drug culture by the drug-friendly nature of the music industry.


Of course abstinence programmes should be properly funded and available to all who want them. But as anyone who works with drug users will tell you, it is not possible to work towards abstinence unless the user themselves is committed to it. Unfortunately there are many who do not wish to come off drugs, and in this situation harm minimization is the most realistic way of helping.

Anonymous for the purpose of honesty

catherine I'm not an expert, and as a layperson I can see, as you say, that one is more likely to persuade someone to commence a harm reduction programme vis-a-vis one for complete abstinence. But what does the evidence suggest is the best in terms of getting addicts to become drug-free? It would appear to be the abstinence programmes which are more successful. So why should we go on supporting programmes that don't work?

One of the projects I've worked on in the last 5 years was a proof of concept for a molecule with a novel mechanism of action intended to make it easier for smokers to stop smoking. Would you have agreed to have our drug licenced if we had shown that people on our drug didn't stop smoking, but smoked a bit less for a while, before going back to full-on smoking again? I wouldn't, honestly. I feel the same about harm reduction vs abstinence wrt the users of illicit drugs.

David Wright

Harm reduction programmes saves lives - fact
I agree alot of harm reduction providers can end up like methadone feed farms and abstinence programs are needed. Abstinence works for some addicts but not others so a balance needs to be achieved.
Lets look at the definition of addiction in the medical dictionary-A chronic relapsing condition. So the symptoms of drug addiction is relaspe. I ask you what other medical condition are you punished for showing symtoms.
I plea to the new Concervative goverment to work with doctors and not to close the door on harm reduction. Otherwise if you forcebly stop an addicts methadone, subutex etc you will create the revolving door where addicts will go back to street drugs. This will cause a massive rise in overdoses, HIV, Hepatitis C and other blood borne viruses. You can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Harm Reduction has it's place and I can't see why it can not work alongside abstinence.

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