PMID: 7932481Jun 1, 1994Paper

Is the prescription of amphetamine justified as a harm reduction measure?

Journal of the Royal Society of Health
P M Fleming, D Roberts


Although amphetamine is the most widely illicitly used drug in the United Kingdom after cannabis, relatively few problematic users present to treatment agencies. Injecting amphetamine users are a high risk group as far as HIV transmission is concerned. This paper reviews the first 3 years' operation of an oral amphetamine prescribing programme for injecting users. Over half the subjects ceased injecting, and there was a considerable reduction in injecting by the remainder. 85% had not used or shared injecting equipment during the programme. However, subjects reported still using street amphetamine and offending, although at a lower rate than previously. There was little change in sexual practices. There was an increase in primary amphetamine users presenting for treatment. There is a case to be made that closely controlled and monitored programmes such as this can be justified on harm reduction grounds. A number of issues concerned with amphetamine prescribing are discussed.


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