A police proposal to hand out free heroin to addicts has provoked a huge response from readers.
Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg says the move could help reduce crime and save money and lives.
The commissioner is hoping the initiative would slash acquisitive crime, such as thefts, as addicts will no longer have to pay illegal dealers.
Mr Hogg argued it would also help health authorities to work with addicts to help them beat their addiction - saving lives.
He said: “The aim would be to enable people who have become addicted to heroin to follow a programme that would stabilise their addiction in a controlled environment, and reduce their dependency on heroin until they stop taking it.
“They would also follow a conventional drug addict support programme.”
Dozens of readers took to the Mail’s Facebook page to have their say, with most arguing it would be a bad move.
A poll on the Mail website, which was taken by more than 220 readers, found that 68% were against the idea.
Colin Barker wrote: “They already get methadone for nothing and it’s not working.”
Caroline Robinson wrote: “No no no.
“Us people who go out to work to get things in life, don’t get any help. All we get is council tax increases etc etc etc.”
Austin Clive Cooper said: “Well, that’s a clever idea. Now we will have unemployed drug dealers. I shake my head.”
Craig Whitelock added: “It’ll make addicts less poorly for shorter time but double their dose and then they’ll need more crime for a bigger habit simple as that.”
Donna Passfield wrote: “Shocking. This shouldn’t happen they have cut things like day centres for the elderly but they are going to spend loads more on addicts.”
Laura Thomas added: “I don’t think feeding their habit is going to help at all.
“Can you imagine alcoholics being given free alcohol? Like any addiction, or most, it needs therapy, true life style changes, and care.”
Steve Atkinson wrote: “Another stupid idea from someone who obviously doesn’t live in the real world.”
Some readers however did back the proposals.
Bob Snowdon wrote: “It’s the first step in the right direction. Brave man for proposing this.”
And Catherine Yarrow said: “Good, compassionate, idea, as long as it is coupled with the help that the individuals need, to rebuild their lives.”