British Addicts to Get Vouchers to Help Kick Drugs

by VR Sreeraman on  July 27, 2007 at 12:27 PM Drug News   - G J E 4
Drug addicts will be given shopping vouchers to help them give up drugs, according to measures announced Wednesday by a government health body.
British Addicts to Get Vouchers to Help Kick Drugs
British Addicts to Get Vouchers to Help Kick Drugs

The measure affects 36,000 Britons aged over 16, who will be given between 70 and 150 pounds (105 and 225 euros, 145 and 310 dollars) on the condition that they seek out treatment programmes and stay clean, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said.

Those who abandon drug-taking may also receive financial incentives linked to consistent monitoring of their condition, to ensure they do not relapse.

Addicts may receive vouchers or other incentives for taking vaccinations -- about 30 percent of injecting drug users are Hepatitis B positive.

According to NICE, preventing one person from becoming Hepatitis B positive saves the government-run National Health Service 4,500 pounds.

The vouchers will be able to be used for goods and services, and will be worth a "couple of pounds" each.

"We are not talking about iPods or flat-screen TVs," said Steve Pilling, co-director of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, which helped develop the guideline.

Overall, the measure will cost the government about 13.4 million pounds to implement, in addition to 2.5 to five million pounds per year for the vouchers and incentives scheme.

Source: AFP

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