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True Story About Heroin Addiction in the UK

This documentary was published 21 years ago. Heroin addiction situation in the UK is much worse today. UK documentary by Nick Davies

Every war has its casualties. The images of those who suffered in the war against drugs have become as familiar as old pictures from the trenches of the First World War. Of course it’s often being said that the first casualty of war is the truth. And in the war against drugs we lost touch with the truth a long time ago. “Surrender to the drugs menace. We couldn’t do that! We shouldn’t do that and we won’t do that!”

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For years British politicians have been courting the law and order vote by promising to get rid of the drugs problem.  “The idea we are now considering is to create a register of hard drug dealers. The police must be informed of all changes of address. It is a new weapon in the battle against the drugs.” Therefore, the situation must improve.

UK Government Fights Against Heroin

In 2000th Britain spent 1.7 billion pounds on the prohibition of drugs. It’s become a world war. Every developed country has been dragged into it. There’s no sign of any of them winning, but the hidden truth is even worse than that.

“I want Britain to be the hardest place on Erath to deal hard in drugs.”

Politicians that have been supporting this war have created the very problems which they claimed to be solving.  We can either choose to surrender to that or we can choose to fight it harder.

I have spent the last 20 years reporting on drugs and crime and poverty and I have no doubt that this global campaign of prohibition is the most dishonest and the most destructive social policy of our time. 

You can talk to just anybody you like politician or ordinary member of the public and they’ll tell you that we have to ban some drugs for the very good reason. That they are poisonous, they ruin the minds and bodies of their users. Drugs kill the addicts often. 

The truth is much more interesting. Take opiates, for example, heroin or morphine, which are different versions of the same drug.

Heroin Addict from Brighton

Brighton now has the highest rate of illicit drugs deaths in the UK. Drugs are the biggest single cause of death (in 2001) here for men aged between 20 and 44. You may think you know what has been killing these young people. But look again. I talked to Brian, a heroin addict for years: “I had a normal life: worked as a chef in Glasgow mortgage, met a girl, had a mortgage settled down. The next thing I met someone that I went to school in the pub one night, hadn’t seen for about 13-14 years. He’s like you might want to come by my flat for a smoke. We came to his flat and a foil was out smoking heroin.”

That first night of heroin smoking set Brian on a steep downward path. Just as Enid Bagnol might be a classic heroin user for her generation, so Brian H. is typical of his. There was no legal daily supply for him and so his stable life fell apart.

“Started taking days off, working less and less. Started stealing my dad’s money.”

When his best friend dies, Brian ran away to Brighton and found himself homeless. He slept in doorways, begged for the living, stole sometimes, but much worse was to follow.

Because he was not allowed to get clean heroin and clean needles, Brian started to suffer horrific illnesses.

“That leg, that right leg, injected in my groin constantly. And when one day a small lump appeared, then again. The next thing it was a size of golf ball. And the pain was horrific.”

Brian was rushed into hospital. The main artery in his leg has blown out into a huge swelling. It was horribly infected with countless injections with dirty needles.   

Heroin addiction UK