Stourbridge MP demands common sense for ex-junkies

STOURBRIDGE MP Margot James is calling for common sense from prison authorities who put former junkies back on drugs.

Ms James says it is time for a shake up of the policy of handing out methadone to former drug addicts who have used their time inside to get clean.

Currently prisoners who quit drugs while in jail are put on the heroin substitute to build up resistance and prevent overdosing if they relapse when they are released.

Speaking after a meeting at the Dudley Substance Misuse Service in Atlantic House, Lye, Ms James said: “It defies common sense that we are giving methadone to ex-prisoners who have gone through the very difficult and sometimes painful process of getting clean whilst in prison.

"There should be a zero tolerance policy for drugs in prison, and offenders should use prison as an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves through abstinence programmes. Upon leaving prison ex-addicts should be monitored closely and encouraged to use services such as the Dudley one in order to stay clean.

"I do not believe that re-introducing drugs into their lives and the lives of the families and friends just before their release is the answer, so I will be writing to the relevant Ministers to express my concerns.”

Over the last three years, the focus for rehabilitation has shifted towards complete abstinence from drugs.

The Atlantic House service, which offers volunteering and education opportunities for ex-offenders, has a success rate of 55 per cent.

Ms James said: "Encouraging addicts to leave drugs behind forever is of great benefit not only to them, but also to their families and the local community."

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