A DRUGS expert is today calling for heroin to be dished out to addicts.
Bob Dunkley, who runs a dispensing clinic in Swindon Road, Dewsbury, wants the UK to follow the lead of European countries such as Holland and Switzerland.
In those countries the state sponsors not only methadone treatment but heroin as well for the most severely addicted.
Mr Dunkley said he thinks for those addicts who cannot survive on methadone alone, prescribing heroin would prove successful.
"I am all for it, because I think it would make things better not just for the sufferers but for society," he said.
"Of course it would not be available to all the people being treated for addiction. But some people simply cannot get by on methadone alone.
"There are addicts who will have to take two pints of methadone just to get by.
"For these people, being able to inject heroin would be much better.
"I think it would cut down on crime. Of course it would have to be tightly controlled and I don't think using chemists would be wise it would have to be done from a medical centre."
The amount the NHS spends on methadone has spiralled in North Kirklees. In the last year it rose from £12,519.36 to £34,508.36.
But Mr Dunkley, who often speaks at conferences around the UK and Europe on methods of treating heroin addicts, said the rise is a good sign.
"It means more people are being treated and that is great news," he said.
"Some people will look at the figures and say `why should we pay?' but that is because of the way society views addicts.
"Being dependent on heroin is a disease - addicts simply have to have either the drug or a substitute.
"I look at it like a diabetic needs their insulin. For people who are lucky enough never to have been addicted to anything it is difficult to understand."
The chemist Mr Dunkley runs is full. He can treat no more addicts and has started to turn people away.
He said: "It breaks my heart to have to tell people I cannot help them. But I am so busy already I can't take anymore on.
"Once you have become addicted to heroin you always are. You will need some kind of substitute for the rest of your life.
"People don't start on methadone and then wean themselves off it.
"They need something to help them until the day they die.
"If it is done correctly they can get back to living normal lives though. I have patients who come for their methadone daily and then go off and carry on working and living like the rest of us."