Should we withdraw benefits from those addicted to drugs if they refuse treatment?

Currently those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol can claim benefits. The benefits they claim can vary from their housing benefits to job seekers allowance. The Home Office are considering proposals to withdraw these benefits from drug users who refuse treatment for their addiction. Is this the best way to help addicted individuals, or is this just a Government money saving scheme at the expense of the individual?

Should we withdraw benefits from those addicted to drugs if they refuse treatment?

Yes because... No because...

It will encourage addicts to take the treatment offered

If the Government threatens to take away the benefits that drug addicts are reliant upon unless they take attend the relevant treatment course, then these people are more likely to get the help they need. Let us not forget that the addictiveness of drugs is such that even family members cannot beg addicts to give up the drugs; it is simply ineffective. Instead, we have to resort to threats on drug users. We have to make the treatment a necessity for them to live. We have to take a severe course of action in order to help these people get help.

You seem to be missing the point here. Drug addiction leads to people rejecting their families at their pleas for them to stop taking the drugs. With this being the case how do you suppose it likely that stopping menial sums of money getting into that drug users hands will prevent them from taking drugs. It simply will not work. Taking money away from drug users will not entice them to take treatment. We need to see the drug users problem from the drug users prospective rather than applying our own standard to the situation.

Should we withdraw benefits from those addicted to drugs if they refuse treatment?

Yes because... No because...

It will save the public money

As of July 2010 the debt level of the UK stood at £816.12 billion [[http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=206]]. With this is mind the coalition Government is trying to cut back spending wherever possible in order to get the UK back into a stable economic position. If cut backs are being made to everyone’s benefits then drug addicts should feel the force of this also. Cutting back the benefits of those who are addicted to drugs will save Britain’s purse £40million a year in incapacity benefit alone [[http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1089823/Drug-addicts-incapacity-benefits-cost-40m-year.html]]

The fact that drug users are likely to resort to crime should we cut their benefit funds, surely this would cost society more?We would have the social costs of crime, including the compensation that the Gvernment gives victims of crime and then we have the costs associated with the criminal justice system. For every £1 spent on treatment for drug addicts would save £3 in the criminal justice system [[Mr Ainsworth, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/every-drug-addict-costs-taxpayer-pound11000-a-year-660514.html. Surely then we would be better off paying for comprehensive treatment, not punitive treatment as the sanctioning measure is?

Should we withdraw benefits from those addicted to drugs if they refuse treatment?

Yes because... No because...

Benefits can be reapplied to families who are trying to change their situation

Why should the Government invest tax payer money into people who are not willing to change their situation? This should not be what benefits are for. Benefits should be for those who want a better life, not people who want drugs. In the wake of pensioners potentially losing out on their winter fuel allowance, and parents missing out on their child support benefit [[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/7951203/Winter-fuel-payment-cuts-to-hit-millions-of-pensioners.html]] why should drug addicts be allowed to keep the full level of their benefits? This would simply be letting the culpable off the hook and letting the innocent suffer.

This coalition Government are aiming to save money, not to reinvest funds elsewhere. To think that this money will be spent on the families of Britain is nothing short of idiotic considering that they have already said they will cut the winter fuel allowance for pensioners and the child benefit for families!

In addition, it is a logical fallacy to assume that the needs of drug addicts and the needs of pensioners and children are the same. To argue a redirection of funds from one to the other would create an overall benefit to society is short sighted.

Should we withdraw benefits from those addicted to drugs if they refuse treatment?

Yes because... No because...

these benefits are funding crime

If we continue to pay people benefits who we know need treatment for a drug addiction, then what we are doing indirectly is putting money into the pockets of drug dealers. Bearing in mind that drug dealers often carry guns to protect their selling turf, they intimidate their users and they incite all sorts of other crimes, should we really be giving money to these people? What we are really doing is funding crime. We should take the benefits away from anyone who is not attending the relevant treatment course.

The buying and selling of drugs is illegal. Carrying guns and using violence to "protect turf" is illegal. A person who participates in these activities should be punished according the law.

Drug addicts who participate in government programs are not breaking the law. Drug addiction is a costly social problem that will always remain a work in progress. Programs and benefits should be modified for the good of society, not simply pulled out from under the feet of people who are addicted and clearly not rationale members of society. They are sick, just as someone who TB.

Should we withdraw benefits from those addicted to drugs if they refuse treatment?

Yes because... No because...

Taking away the benefits will only result in more crime and prostitution

In May the Social Security Advisory Committee [[http://www.ssac.org.uk/]] issued a warning that cutting the benefits of those dependant on drugs would in fact lead to more crime and prostitution. These people are so desperate for their fix of drugs that they will do anything. If we cu their ben4efits, we should not be so naive as to think that lack of money will stop them from taking drugs. They will find other means to get the money in order to fund their habit. They will steal and sell, or they will merely sell their bodies. Without help, positive help, thee people will continually strive to maintain their addiction.

Should we withdraw benefits from those addicted to drugs if they refuse treatment?

Yes because... No because...

How effective will this measure be against the already ‘vulnerable and marginalised group’

Martin Barnes, chief executive of charity Drug Scope, has expressed concerns over the effectiveness of taking away a lifeline from drug users. Drug users often have no ties in society which is why they fall so far adrift. They feel like they are on the outskirts of society with no hope of integrating. How can taking away benefits and implementing a sanction for not accepting treatment be conducive to this feeling? Surely they will feel more marginalised; more victimized and therefore will turn more and more to drugs.

Should we withdraw benefits from those addicted to drugs if they refuse treatment?

Yes because... No because...

The majority of people with drug dependency also have mental illnesses

Former Work and Pensions Minister Tony McNulty [[http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1089823/Drug-addicts-incapacity-benefits-cost-40m-year.html]] stated that figures released shows that the majority of those who rely on drugs also have a mental illness. With this being the case, how can it be moral to withdraw money from them? Why can the Government not give people more opportunity and encouragement to sign up to the treatment of their dependency without the looming threat of cutting the benefits? This way, people will feel supported, and there will be a higher chance of people feeling at home in society and therefore more willing to take part in it.

Should we withdraw benefits from those addicted to drugs if they refuse treatment?

Yes because... No because...

NHS services must reflect the needs and preferences of patients

It is one of the 7 values of the NHS [[http://www.eoe.nhs.uk/nhs_constitution/principles.php]] that patient preferences will be adhered to. They are required to be consulted on all matters involving their treatment and their wishes will be taken into account. It would be breaking this vital value of the NHS constitution if drug users were effectively financially bullied into taking treatment that they did not want to undergo; whatever that treatment may be. Let us not forget that if the Government say that ‘treatment is needed in order to claim benefits, they can also prescribe what that treatment is; do we really want the Government telling individuals what treatment to have?

Debates > Should we withdraw benefits from those addicted to drugs if they refuse treatment?