POLITICS
04/07/2013 13:09 BST

Free Tin Foil For Drug Addicts Could Help Them Seek Treatment, Says Theresa May

Drug addicts are to be offered free foil - typically used as a surface to heat substances such as heroin - to encourage them to take up treatment and to reduce health risks, the Home Secretary has announced.

The Government is to introduce laws to make sure foil is offered by drug treatment providers as part of efforts to get addicts into treatment and on the road to recovery, Theresa May said.

The move comes after the Government's official advisers, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), recommended that foil is provided to users.

drugs tin foil

Foil is often used to heat drugs before taking

Foil is used as a cooking surface when heating drugs such as heroin so they can be injected, while marijuana, cocaine and crystal meth can be smoked through it.

In a written statement, the Home Secretary said: "The available evidence shows that the provision of foil can encourage people to take their first steps into treatment, reducing the immediate harm and facilitating the onward journey towards recovery and abstinence."

May added that providing foil will also tackle "significant health risks" associated with injecting drugs, including the transmission of dangerous blood borne viruses.

She said mechanisms will be put in place to monitor the provision of foil.

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Earlier this year, the ACMD wrote to the Home Secretary to advise that foil is given to drug addicts through treatment providers.

It said: "The available evidence shows that the provision of foil at treatment centres does increase the number of individuals who engage with the services.

"In turn, engagement with treatment services increases the likelihood of an individual's recovery.

"The ACMD's view is that foil, as an intervention, can support an individual in their first steps into treatment and towards recovery i.e. getting them off drugs."

It added: "The current statutory prohibition of foil provision prevents those delivering treatment from providing it legally as part of a tailored intervention."

The Home Secretary came under fire yesterday after she defied the ACMD and criminalised a plant used by Somalian communities as a stimulant.

Khat, which makes its users feel more alert, happy and talkative when chewed, is to be banned as a Class C drug amid concerns that there was not enough evidence to allay fears of its health and social harms, May said.

The move came after the ACMD concluded khat should not be banned.