UK to Offer Free Tin Foil to Addicts

By Chrisanne Grise 07/05/13

Experts hope offering the foil at treatment centers will reduce health risks and encourage more addicts to seek treatment.

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Foil can be used as a safer alternative to
injecting.
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The UK will soon offer free aluminum foil to addicts at treatment centers, in an effort to encourage addicts to seek treatment and to reduce risk of infection. The foil can be used as a cooking surface to heat up and inhale drugs like heroin, which is considered safer than injecting. The plan was recommended by The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD)—a group which advises the British government—because they say the available evidence suggests that providing drug paraphernalia at treatment centers increases the number of participants in the programs. "Support that enables heroin and other drug users to reduce the risks to themselves and others can be the catalyst for engaging with treatment and support for recovery," says Martin Barnes, the chief executive of charity DrugScope. Home Secretary Theresa May says she approves the plan, though it will be "subject to the strict condition that it is part of structured efforts to get people into treatment and off drugs.” May says providing foil would also help cut back on the "significant health risks" associated with injecting drugs, such as the transmission of viruses and diseases. “One of the primary benefits is in encouraging a move away from injecting and therefore reducing the risk of blood borne infections and overdose which affect not only the user but their families as well as wider society in the form of [National Health Service] and social costs,” says a spokeswoman for the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. The country’s harm reduction efforts appear to be working so far, as the number of heroin and crack cocaine users in England recently fell below 300,000 for the first time.

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Chrisanne Grise is a multimedia journalist specializing in health/fitness, lifestyle, travel, bridal, and music. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications such as Martha Stewart Weddings, Parents, FitnessMagazine, Fisher Price, Bridal Guide, Scholastic's Choices, AbsolutePunk.net, Chorus.fm, and more. She is the Senior Editor at The New York Times Upfront. Follow her on Linkedin and Twitter.