THE doctor who helped to pioneer treating heroin addicts through GP surgeries had said the Heroin Inquiry made a ‘definite difference’.
Dr Lisa Collins said they have currently got around 500 people in treatment and have very few new drug users come through.
“We have had a lot of success with people who have come out of treatment and are no longer using drugs, as well as people who have come off drugs but don’t quite feel ready to stop treatment,” she said.
“And we have got a lot of people who are on treatment but who are still using drugs – the treatment keeps them alive and stops them committing crime. These are the difficult ones.”
“But nevertheless it is still better for them and the community. The heroin rate is very low now – the inquiry made it visible and stopped many people from going down that route.”
Dr Collins said the acceptance of the community about the issue has been extremely helpful but that there is still a lot of work ahead.
“At the time the important thing was getting a lot of people into treatment so they didn’t have to commit crime,” she said.
“Now we are getting to the stage where people are in treatment and stuck. They desperately need additional support.”
Dr Collins added that lack of housing opportunities made it very difficult for people to move away from their drug habit.
“They also might have health problems or a criminal record and it makes it very difficult for them to put things behind them,” she said.
“There is a really great need for wrap around services such as housing and training. If we can get more of that I know it will make a real difference.”