Memorandum submitted by Parents and Addicts
against Narcotics in the Community (PANIC)
1. Who is PANIC? PANIC is a community-based
and community-led organisation of parents and heroin addicts.
Heroin users and their families formed PANIC in Teesside to challenge
what we believe is inadequate and misdirected statutory and official
responses to the heroin epidemic in the region.
2. We challenge the singular focus, priority
and reliance on community detoxification based in methadone treatment
when it is known that it does not work. Common sense tells us
that the very high crime, criminal justice, prison, health and
other costs incurred through widespread heroin addiction would
be avoided if money were spent on trying other approaches such
as residential detoxification and rehabilitation.
3. National Treatment Outcome Returns (NTORs)
suggest that the success rate for Residential Rehabilitation compared
to Community Detoxification is similar at 50 per cent for each.
However this comparison is false because only the worse cases
go to Residential Detoxification, which is used as a treatment
of last resort.
4. There is a lack of support and monies
for grassroots and voluntary community agencies. Most Community
Against Drugs and SRB monies are used to prop up statutory services
that in many cases are ineffective.
5. Users and carers have little representation
on DAT committees where statutory agencies dominate yet continue
to deliver ineffective services.
6. We believe that if the range of treatments
have been tried and have failed for individuals then in such cases
the controlled prescribing of diamorphine should be made available.
7. The involvement of families and relations
is crucial as they carry the costs and burdens of care and support
particularly the stress that having a user at home engenders.
Support is best from peers and therefore the focus should be on
communities and people on the ground not on statutory agencies.
3 Tina Williams, Dianne Oliver and Gillian Ford. Back