Murdo Macleod, Scotland on Sunday, Mar. 14
FEMALE drug addicts will be given long-term contraceptives under plans being considered by ministers.
The Scottish Executive has said it is examining plans which were drawn up last year which would see drug users given long-lasting contraceptives, such as injections and coils in order to prevent them having unwanted pregnancies.
The admission, comes in the wake of dramatic proposals by a leading academic which would see women on drugs paid to go on contraceptives.
But a spokesman for the Executive said ministers did not envisage paying addicts not to have children, and no-one would be forced to have contraception. He explained that the Hidden Harm report, which was published last June, suggested long-term contraception for drug addicts as one of a number of recommendations.
Neil McKeganey, professor of drug misuse research at Glasgow University, said paying women addicts to take contraception would slash the number of unwanted pregnancies among drug abusers.
He said the move would help tackle the “crisis” of neglect experienced by tens of thousands of children with drug addict parents.
McKeganey’s research showed some children were not being fed or clothed properly. He said a few had woken up to find their parents had died from an overdose. His research also suggested that more than 60% of addict mothers and 85% of addict fathers no longer looked after their children. Many of these children were instead being looked after by grandparents or the local authority.
McKeganey said: “[The] situation is so far beyond our capacity that we need to look at ways of reducing the likelihood of female drug users becoming pregnant.”
But a spokesman for the Catholic Church, Peter Kearney, said: “If you are going to sterilise drug-addicted women, why stop there? Why not sterilise alcoholics? There must be as many women with chronic alcohol problems.”