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Drug users voucher incentive

12th June 2008

A pilot scheme by the National Treatment Agency will offer people who use drugs special vouchers to persuade them to stay with treatment programmes.

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The vouchers will be given to addicts, who can use them to pay for gym membership and utility costs.

The NTA was advised by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in 2007 that they recommended an incentive-based scheme.

The 12-week scheme will be trialled at 15 locations in England from 16 June and is the first attempt to use vouchers to help people with drug issues.

Similar programmes have been successful in the USA, with studies demonstrating users remained free of drugs for "twice as long" as those not on programmes.

The vouchers will have a maximum value of £200 and will be awarded to drug users who manage to stay off drugs, attend clinics and check-ups.

Drug users will be able to "earn" vouchers of a value of £2 to £4 if they acheive their targets.

Users will not be able to redeem the vouchers for cash or spend them on certain items, including alcohol.

Public health minister Dawn Primarolo said the programmes could help drug users to have more "stable lives".

"The trial will be fully evaluated to see whether or not it could be implemented nationally," she added.

NTA clinical adviser Dr John Dunn added: "We are applying the tried and tested principles of a basic behavioural rewards system."

"This new approach is a way of kick-starting change and helping people regain control over their chaotic lives, thus reducing the harm done by their drug use to families, neighbours and communities."

 




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Article Information

Title: Drug users voucher incentive
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 7101
Date Added: 12th Jun 2008

Sources

BBC News

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