do drugs... get shopping vouchers

#1
Drug addicts receiving treatment should be given shopping vouchers to encourage them to kick their habit, an NHS body has suggested.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence accepts the idea for England and Wales is controversial.

But evidence from international trials shows modest financial incentives can cut drug abuse by hardened addicts.

Users could get vouchers worth up to ?10 at NHS treatment programmes - if tests show they are free of drugs.

NICE says the idea would be cost-effective, and there would be a public health benefit because addicts could also be screened for infectious diseases - such as HIV and tuberculosis.

The proposal for an incentive scheme is contained in draft guidance on how the NHS in England and Wales should handle drug misuse.

Debates about how NHS money should be spent have intensified in recent years.

NICE will soon face its first legal challenge when groups angry about restrictions on drugs for Alzheimer's Disease challenge its processes.

Could help many

Mr Stephen Pilling, a consultant clinical psychologist from University College London, who advised the NICE group, estimates 50,000 addicts in England and Wales could take part in the scheme.

He believes it could help up to half of them stay off drugs.

He said: "I think the group, having thought it through carefully, have firmly come to the view that it provides a much better and positive way to relate to drug users than sometimes we have done in the past.

"I don't think it's bribery - I think it's an effective treatment that brings real benefit. We are convinced it is a proper way to deal with people."

Mr Pilling said the key was that the system provided an incentive for people to present a clean drug test.

"There will be some big challenges in spelling out the benefits to NHS staff and monitoring the implementation of this.

"But the evidence shows small incentives can have a marked impact."

Cost effective

The NICE group looked at evidence from more than 20 trials, mainly done in the US.

The results convinced the group that incentive schemes worked and were cost-effective.

Studies have shown many people with drug problems respond much better to positive incentives than to programmes which focus on punishment and make them feel guilty.

Some of the American trials involved giving drug addicts vouchers for burger chains, but Mr Pilling said that wouldn't be the case in the NHS.

He said: "A clear purpose of the use of vouchers would be to promote a healthy lifestyle - we would want to encourage them to buy appropriate food or improve their leisure activities."

Richard Phillips, director of services at Phoenix Futures - drug and alcohol treatment specialists - said providing incentives to people receiving treatments could be controversial.

But he said: "If it works to keep people in treatment there would be considerable benefits to the public.

"The cost of a few sandwiches is a small price to pay if it keeps more drug users on the path of recovery and off illegal drugs."

'Deep-seated problems'

But Mike Trace, chief executive of the Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust cast doubt on whether the concept would work.

Send us your comments
He told the BBC Radio Four Today programme: "If you just rely on rewards for abstinence and you're not treating people's complex problems, you're not going to change the behaviour."

Linda, whose son Neil used heroin and crack cocaine for 15 years, said faster access to treatment is more important than vouchers.

"I'd rather money was spent on drug treatment centres, where people could be helped immediately.

"These young people have deep-seated problems - that's what needs to be addressed.

"That's where the money should go - not giving them vouchers for food, clothes or shopping."

Professor Peter Littlejohns, NICE's clinical and public health director, said the aim of the new guidance would be to offer a package of interventions to provide support for people trying to beat their addiction.

The draft guidelines also consider how to give addicts information about self-help groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, and how to best support families and carers.

A consultation on the proposals is open until early March, with full guidance due to be issued to the NHS in the summer.

The Department of Health said its drug treatment budget was to increase from ?375m to ?388m for 2007/8. It will also input ?10m of capital funding.

A spokesman said it would be responding to the NICE consultation.

He added: "NICE's current draft guideline makes a number of recommendations on the use of suitable privileges or rewards to encourage compliance with treatment regimes.

"This is one of a range of approaches that may support better outcomes."
so i get hooked on drugs... tell me GP im hooked... get clean get vouchers for each check up that im clean... tesco, boots HMV here i come...
 
#3
it's a basic rule of human nature - punish bad behaviour and reward good behaviour - whether you like it or not, every one of us responds in the same way...... vouchers are a small part of the overall package - if they help let's use them, if they don't, stop using them...... simple.
 
#4
On the one hand, Jase, I agree that it seems unfair that people who initially choose to do drugs (and subsequently get addicted) seem to get freebies. On the other hand, think of the (IMO greater) amount of money and hassle it costs when a drug-addict steals or harms others to fund her/his habit. If giving out a relatively small amount of money in vouchers contributes to people getting clean, surely it's cheap at the price?
 
#6
It is not as bad a thing as it 1st seems, they say clean, and getting clean and saying clean is not as simple as you may think.
we should in theory then have less crime,less paraphernalia being dumped about.less people using hopefully less people to learn how to use, they get £10 voucher to spend, I could just about guarantee it will be restricted on what they can buy with it, i suspect foodstuffs, if nothing else they will/should have at least a loaf of bread in the house that way.
what will we miss from this as its a voucher, no actual money is being paid out that we will noticeably miss from our pockets.
 
#7
RFUK said:
On the other hand, we could just execute anyone caught with drugs. That'd kill the problem in no time at all.
Simplistic and wrong :thumbdown:

Singapore's drug laws are among the world's harshest. Anyone aged 18 or over convicted of carrying more than 15 grams of heroin faces mandatory execution by hanging.

But drug addiction was still a problem, Amnesty said, adding that there was "no convincing evidence" high execution rates had curbed drug use in Singapore.

It cited Singapore Central Narcotics Bureau statistics showing 3,393 people arrested for drug offences in 2002 and the number of new drug abusers up 16 percent from 2001. Use of methamphetamines, or "ice," also showed a significant increase.
 
#8
Steven said:
RFUK said:
On the other hand, we could just execute anyone caught with drugs. That'd kill the problem in no time at all.
Simplistic and wrong :thumbdown:

Singapore's drug laws are among the world's harshest. Anyone aged 18 or over convicted of carrying more than 15 grams of heroin faces mandatory execution by hanging.

But drug addiction was still a problem, Amnesty said, adding that there was "no convincing evidence" high execution rates had curbed drug use in Singapore.

It cited Singapore Central Narcotics Bureau statistics showing 3,393 people arrested for drug offences in 2002 and the number of new drug abusers up 16 percent from 2001. Use of methamphetamines, or "ice," also showed a significant increase.
They get to kill a lot of drug addict scum though, which can only be a good thing.
 
#9
I myself can speak on this matter with some amount of welly, I myself am an alcoholic and currently awaiting to start on my lovely detox program, I do not feel that offering incentives will help one iota. I would also prefer the funding to go into the programs theselves and mores to the point publicising them. I had the good sense as soon as "I realised" I had a problem went straight to the docs and found them to be very supportive. If there is one thing an addict needs its support from family ,friends and medical people, and the main point is YOU HAVE TO WANT TO GET OFF THE BUS!!!! giving people who do not have the good fortune of reasonable intelligence will just sell their vouchers anyway!
 
#11
Ta Spiff, must admit Im shittin it, bloody Librium, Valium in other words, take me off the pi55 and turn me into a smackhead, bargain! not! I will be sorted and I want it so badly it will work, but as I say this voucher scheme is deemed to fuel the problem from the start, I know so many people in that boat that will just see it as a bonus to their lives, its better for the government to be seen to do something though, and not wanting to start a tinfoil hat brigade conversation, has anyone read Aldous Huxleys Brave New World? Soma? Just a thought !
 
#12
I have now been clear of drugs for 43 years, well since I was born actually. Where is the queue for the free stuff?

What a load of leftie pump.

Shoot the fcukers
 
#13
having worked in a dry house and a wet house possible of some limited use
do this get this don't do what we say don't get anything
if it works its not stupid
 
#15
This is an excellent idea. I know it sounds very wishy-washy to the majority of the arrse posters, but research has shown this (correctly known as Token Economy) to be a very effective method of modifying behaviour. It has shown it is effective with all sorts of populations, from kids with behavioural problems, to drug addicts to encouraging institutionalised schizophrenics to wash in the mornings or make their beds.



http://wik.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/Token_economy
 
#16
RFUK said:
On the other hand, we could just execute anyone caught with drugs. That'd kill the problem in no time at all.
I agree 100%. Why should the taxpayer pay for druggie scum who have (or had) a choice whether to take drugs in the first place. Britain is too soft on many issues. A 9mm round for each druggie, paedofile, rapist, murder ect ect would save us alot of money.
 
#17
amazing__lobster said:
This is an excellent idea. I know it sounds very wishy-washy to the majority of the arrse posters, but research has shown this (correctly known as Token Economy) to be a very effective method of modifying behaviour. It has shown it is effective with all sorts of populations, from kids with behavioural problems, to drug addicts to encouraging institutionalised schizophrenics to wash in the mornings or make their beds.

Surely tokin' economy?

msr
 
#18
Well to be the wishy washy liberal here .Definatly stick the rapists &murders in the beaten zone 9mm just dosent seem enough .Some druggies can be salvaged and if this helps its not stupid .If a couple of vouchers helps some one turn their life around its worth doing .
Shooting junkies dosent seem to work every country that has tried it
hasen't really ended drug problem.
 
#20
msr said:
amazing__lobster said:
This is an excellent idea. I know it sounds very wishy-washy to the majority of the arrse posters, but research has shown this (correctly known as Token Economy) to be a very effective method of modifying behaviour. It has shown it is effective with all sorts of populations, from kids with behavioural problems, to drug addicts to encouraging institutionalised schizophrenics to wash in the mornings or make their beds.

Surely tokin' economy?

msr
:compress: :compress: :compress:
 

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