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Heroin addicts are to be given free foil on the NHS in an effort to help them kick the habit and cut the risk of contracting disease, reports the Independent.
They will be offered the foil – on which heroin is heated – to encourage them to inhale, rather than inject, class A substances, as part of programmes to tackle their addiction.
Smoking heroin instead of injecting it prevents users from contracting blood-borne viruses like HIV and hepatitis B through shared needles, cuts damage to veins and reduces the risk of overdose.
Critics will raise questions over any move that enables drug users to maintain their habit, but the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs concluded last year that offering foil can help an addict’s eventual recovery.
Both the NHS and privately run treatment centres will be allowed to issue the foil from this month, the Government has announced.