Action on 'jellies' drug over crime rise

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The Independent Online
New curbs on the sleeping drug temazepam were announced yesterday by the Government in an attempt to tackle the social problems caused by its misuse.

A measure preventing doctors from prescribing the capsule form of the drug from 1 January was announced by the Secretary of State for Health, Stephen Dorrell, and the Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Forsyth. They said the gel-filled capsules had been at the root of "an appalling crime wave" north of the border.

The ban will not affect genuine NHS patients as the tablet form will still be available.

Temazepam "jellies" have been widely misused by addicts, particularly in Scotland, who melt them down and inject them, often in cocktails of other drugs.

This can have lethal results when the jelly re-solidifies in their bloodstream, causing gangrene or death.

In Strathclyde alone, more than 80 drug-related deaths have been recorded this year, many of them involving temazepam "jellies".

The Government last month rescheduled the drug and made its possession unlawful.