We tried to speak with GPs, tried to convince them that people on drugs can be given prescriptions. And so they can look at harm reduction. So that as soon as they get drug prescription either methadone or hydrocodine or valium or whatever it may be, is it easier to monitor for drug use. And therefore it is easier to bring them off drugs than somebody who is a hardened drug user. And all GPs then wouldn’t see that at all. Until when one or two of them became quite enlightened and listened to what we are saying and start to prescribe.
The argument we put forward, as to why we thought a person fit that prescription convinced GPs. And it wasn’t just about saying it is saving you money. But, it does help the economy as well. Because when people are chaotic drug users and before being put on a prescription, they would be possibly breaking into houses, murdering people, doing robberies, and stuff like that, just to get money to buy drugs. I think all my colleagues including myself we are quite open to new ideas. For example, we are the ones who encouraged GPs to prescribe. In those days, we can go along with a client and speak to the GP and say look: I don’t think this person will benefit from being in that prescription. Nowadays, GPs tend to do that on their own and they don’t listen to us. So if you took that person away and gave them drug prescription that will stop a majority of people from offending. So it could have a snowball effect on the rest of their life as well. And the police endorsed that as well. They were saying, yes really the rate of offending in Wester Hailes is now going down. This is behind the fact that people are getting prescription.
The unfortunate thing about our success was that some of the GPs actually over prescribed. There were queues on open surgeries, 50 to 60 people waiting to get a prescription. One of the GPs suffered from it, for over prescription and got struck off. Because he was prescribing far too much. Nowadays GP are more aware, have more training about drug abuse. But also there are guidelines set for them that can stop on the level you want to prescribe.