Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Scotland’s drugs minister Angela Constance hints at funds for Neuro Electric Therapy trial

© Scottish GovernmentAngela Constance
Angela Constance

Scotland’s Drugs Minister Angela Constance has signalled that funding could be made available to study a controversial treatment which supporters say saves heroin users from distressing detox symptoms.

Constance has told supporters of Neuro Electric Therapy (NET) that funds could be available for a pilot study.

The treatment uses low-level electronic pulses delivered from electrodes placed behind the ears to suppress the side-effects of coming off heroin addiction.

In a letter to the treatment programme’s Scottish boss, Owen Fielding, she said: “It is very interesting to hear about the work that you and your organisation are doing and your plans regarding further research on NET internationally and in Scotland.

“There is a need for further randomised control trials into NET’s efficacy which would take into consideration longer-term outcomes and make use of appropriate control groups. There may be funding available for a similar trial to be carried out in Scotland via the Chief Scientist Office (CSO).

“CSO has reviewed its grant schemes and is now providing a number of different funding steams to directly support research in Scotland.”

Jardine Simpson, who heads the Scottish Recovery Consortium and is an official observer on Scotland’s Drug Death Task Force, said: “This shows Angela Constance is willing to listen to those of us with lived experience.

“I applaud her having an open mind and looking at different solutions to tackle the crisis we’re in.

“I spent some time researching NET and watching the documentary The Final Fix and I was deeply impressed by what I saw.

“I believe we cannot afford to disregard anything that may help us cut the number of people dying in Scotland every single day from the effects of drugs, and if what I’ve seen of NET lives up to its promise, I believe this could be a major new lifeline for people determined to recover.”

The Scottish Government said there was a lack of evidence about NET, but if that changed it could look at it again.

The Final Fix

Invented almost fifty years ago by Scottish surgeon Meg Patterson, who worked in Hong Kong, NET helped major rock and music stars such as Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, and Boy George quit heroin.

Last month, Trainspotting star Ewan McGregor urged the Scottish Government to investigate it. The actor, who played heroin addict Mark Renton in the landmark 1996 film, narrated a documentary which charts the successful trials of in the US.

He suggested ministers watched The Final Fix, saying: “This film takes a hard look at this different kind of treatment and it really seems to work. I would hope that the authorities would take notice and perhaps explore for themselves. It’s at least worth exploration. Current treatment for drug addiction often utilises other addictive drugs and that may not be the answer.”

BAFTA and Emmy winning documentary maker Norman Stone made the film, which shows the incredible effect the treatment had cutting drug cravings within a couple of days.

The documentary, which has already won 11 major awards, filmed addicts in Kentucky becoming drug free for the first time in years, with no side effects at all.

Mr Stone said: “I’d seen the effect NET had on Eric Clapton when I saw him in the 70s. I never forgot how incredibly quickly the process appeared to work, and with Scotland in the grips of the worst drugs crisis, I believed we needed to look properly at the treatment to see if it could help.”