London, June 1 (ANI): British taxpayers are paying 44 million pounds a year to fund the drug habits of jailed addicts.
The alarmingly high figures were revealed in a report conducted by UK think-tank Policy Exchange.
The Labour Party's lenient policy on drug addiction in jails is said to be the roor of the problem. It introduced the 'Integrated Drug Treatment System' (IDTS) which replaced the prisoners' usual drug with safer substitutes like Methadone.
The policy turned out to be highly counter-productive and has even spawned drug trade among inmates.
"Perversely, the massive increase in opiate-substitute medication has created a new kind of trade for drugs in prisons, as methadone and buprenorphine are readily traded among inmates," the Daily Express quoted Max Chambers, author of the report, as saying.
The report also revealed that maintenance prescriptions, which involve a stable dose, often continued indefinitely, are now being inappropriately prescribed.
Maintenance should only be used for prisoners serving short-sentences or who are in remand. But clinical guidelines state that prisoners who are on methadone in the community should have their habits maintained, regardless of the sentence.
As a result, almost 20,000 maintenance prescriptions were made in 2008/9.
While the policy continues to parasitically guzzle taxpayers' money, authorities maintain it is not likely to be scrapped anytime soon.
"The IDTS is being brought in across prisons to provide evidence-based treatment tailored to suit the needs of the offender. It is currently the subject of a rigorous and extensive four-year prison research programme," said a spokesman for the British Department of Health. (ANI)