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PJ Online | News: Government set to legalise some items for use by addicts

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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 269 No 7226 p768
30 November 2002

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Government set to legalise some items for use by addicts

Proposals to legalise the supply of water for injections, swabs, sterile bowls, spoons and sachets of citric acid to drug addicts have been put forward.

Currently, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 makes it illegal for anyone to supply anything other than hypodermic syringes and needles when it is to be used to for the illegal preparation or administration of Controlled Drugs. A Home Office consultation letter says that pharmacists and workers involved with drug addicts and needle exchange schemes are known to supply other items to try to reduce infections.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has now said that health workers should not be placed at risk of prosecution when they supply items that have significant potential to minimise harm. It says that the law should be changed to allow the supply of ampoules of sterile water, swabs, spoons, bowls and citric acid, but not filters or tourniquets. In the case of citric acid, supply will be restricted to pharmacists and other suitably trained people because of the risk of citric burns at injection sites and other complications.

Comments can be sent to Naim Siddiqui, Communities and Law Enforcement Drugs Unit, Home Office (Room 243), 50 Queen Anne?s Gate, London SW1H 9AT (e-mail Naim.Siddiqui@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk) by 14 February 2003. The consultation letter can be downloaded as a PDF (55K) .

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