The Foreigner, 3 september 2011, Lyndsey Smith

A research panel has rejected proposals to provide dependent drug users with free heroin to try to end dependence.

The seven-member panel including doctors, a researcher, and a lecturer concluded there is insufficient knowledge about the benefits of this type of scheme.

Labour (Ap) Justice Minister Knut Storberget wanted to introduce a system based on a Portuguese model. This would have focused on arresting drug dealers and traffickers instead of drug addicts. 

The free heroin proposal received mixed reactions when first discussed in an alleged conflict of interests. A commission, headed by Thorvald Stoltenberg, father of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was set up, but Mr Stoltenberg Sr. was criticised by a leading psychiatrist because of having a daughter who is a former drug addict. The commission was to discuss the best way to get addicts help.

Its 47-page report also attracted censure at the time as only the last five pages actually mentioned heroin and the idea of giving addicts the drug free on prescription.

The panel has now decided there is not enough proof that this sort of system will work. Lead researcher Sverre Nesvåg told Forskningsrådet “we have considered the material that was presented at the conference but it highlighted existing gaps in our knowledge of this field.”

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