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Drug worker slams scheme

PUBLISHED: 14:49 03 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 24 August 2010

DRUG users attempting to beat their habit could be scared out of using a vital service after police moved in next door. Experts are concerned that people using The Junction Project in Station Road, Harlesden, might be pushed away from seeking help at the

DRUG users attempting to beat their habit could be scared out of using a vital service after police moved in next door.

Experts are concerned that people using The Junction Project in Station Road, Harlesden, might be pushed away from seeking help at the centre through fear of being targeted by police.

The centre is a free prescribing service for heroin and opiate users that also provides one-to-one counselling, referral to detoxification and rehabilitation centres and information on methadone maintenance and safer injecting.

An advocate for the Methadone Alliance (a charity supporting people in drug treatment), who lives locally and who asked not to be identified, said: "People who have gone and stayed under the radar and got their prescriptions are suddenly going to be in full view of the police.

"There is so much fear in the drug using community and to do this is appalling. I don't understand why they've (Brent Police) done this.

"They have to put it somewhere but it just shows again the total disregard for the people who have got drug problems.

"Fear rules and people go and get their treatment and it gives them peace of mind.

"These are people who may have been committing crimes for years and eventually they can take a breath and say 'it's ok now I'm legal, I can carry on with my life' but then all of a sudden they are in the limelight again.

"It's shocking. The awful tragedy is that there has not been any consultation." Harlesden and Kensal Green Safer Neighbourhoods Teams are due to move into the premises on December 18.

When asked by the Times why there was no consultation a Brent Police spokeswoman said: "There was no consultation as we needed to get a SNT base that was fit for purpose."

Ch Insp Ian Vincent, Brent Police, who pushed ahead with the move, said: "The existence next door of a premises used to help rehabilitate drug dependent persons is not a barrier to the citing of the base, in fact, it should be seen as reassuring to those using the service and to the local people that live and work in Harlesden Town Centre."

Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, which helps run The Junction, refused to comment.

Anyone seeking help or advice on drug-related matters can call the Methadone Alliance on 0845 122 8608 or visit www.m-alliance.org.uk


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