A programme launched  to try and help those with heroin addictions in Middlesbrough is proving a success.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger.

The Heroin Assisted Treatment Programme (HAT) was launched in October 2019 to try and help those addicted to heroin.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger said: “Middlesbrough has the highest rate of drug use and there are a lot of drug related deaths in the town.”

The aim of the treatment programme is to reduce the crime rate and death toll in Middlesbrough, which is mostly due to drugs.

Since it’s launch in October 2019, the programme has been going really well.

The participants of the treatment are said to be doing well and their health is improving as a result of this, not to mention the crime rate has been reduced.

Mr Coppinger said: “The feedback we have from the officers on the street, who knew the people that have gone into the programme, say the streets are better.”

There has been complaints about this programme, from a small group of residents who live close to the medical centre where the treatment is being administered.

The residents were concerned about how the scheme might affect the clinic

Hannah Smith, Commissioner’s Officer for Communications and Information said: “In the long term it’s saving the residents their money.”

“If drug users get clean then people won’t have to pay so much towards hospitals etc.”

The drug used in this treatment programme is called Diamorphine and is a pain relief, mostly used on cancer patients.

It’s given to the 12 participants twice daily every day and this will last for 12 months.

Mr Coppinger said: “It has similar impacts to heroin and It satisfies their cravings.”

“Unlike heroin, this drug is clean and doesn’t give the user any side effects.

“There is a lot of help in place for these 12 individuals such as counselling, emotional support, housing support, education and employment help.

“In the clinic they are supervised at all times when the drug is being administered.’

The participants for this programme were considered to be the most ‘at risk’, who were causing the most concern to the criminal justice agencies.

They couldn’t force the selected individuals to be a part of the programme, they had to decide for themselves if they wanted to do it.

Mr Coppinger said: “The participants have exhausted all other avenues of help, this is a last chance for them.”

The   programme has cost £441, 512, with the PCC allocating £131, 287 to make sure it works.

Mr Coppinger hopes to save around £2 million over the next 12 months.

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