Photo: Reuters
Will new program help addicrs?
Photo: Reuters

Tel Aviv municipality to distribute heroin to addicts

In lieu of methadone and other drug substitutes, Tel-Aviv Municipality to launch pilot study examining distribution of heroin to addicts who cannot be rehabilitated

Municipal-sponsored drugs? The social services division of the Tel Aviv Municipality has recently formulated a special program to distribute heroin to older addicts who despite having made numerous attempts at recovery have failed to remain clean.


Tel Aviv News reported Friday that the city's municipality has already drafted a position paper on this newly conceived program, highlighting both its strengths and possible flaws.


According to the municipal plan, the heroin will be distributed through carefully monitored clinics, which will also provide extensive medical and psychological care to the addicts they treat.


Municipal officials believe that the program will do much to reduce property crime perpetuated by addicts looking for their next 'fix,' and are due to soon present it to the Ministry of Health for initial approval.


According to statistics recently published by the Tel-Aviv Municipality, 75% of all property crimes are perpetuated by addicts. Most assaults on the elderly are also carried out by addicts, who can readily become violent and desperate when seeking out drugs.


“Many addicts therefore lose control and find themselves unwitting criminals,” stated the Anti-Drug Authority’s position paper.


Recovery statistics are similarly glum. The municipality reports that only 20% of addicts who enter a treatment program remain drug-free, whereas the resounding majority tend to relapse.


“Fighting addiction demands immense mental and physical fortitude that many addicts simply don’t possess,” said Dr. Benny Avrahami, director of the Tel Aviv Municipal Anti-Drug Authority, who drafted the position paper on this innovative program while seeking out new ways to help the city’s addicts.


New program for addicts (Photo: Visual Photos) 


Tel-Aviv currently runs 5 clinics which distribute Methadone and Subutex (both opiate substitutes) to addicts in order to help them through the harrowing withdrawal process, but many addicts abandon this treatment because these substitutes are no match for the “euphoric” high which heroin provides.


Avrahami notes that the advantages that the proposed municipal program holds include psychological and welfare support for addicts and their families, a marked decrease in the economic toll the state bears in treating addicts, medical care for addicts and the production of clean, pharmacologically produced heroin for their use.


The program, naturally, also holds some looming disadvantages including forming the perception that Israel is becoming a drug-endorsing culture, reluctance to treat and rehabilitate addicts, and the general population’s objection to establishing such clinics in residential neighborhoods.


Similar program already operate in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, all of which reported a marked decline in property crime as well as a marked improvement in addicts’’ health and welfare.


פרסום ראשון: 02.08.08, 13:54
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