Streets Behind: New UK study gives fresh hope to heroin-addicted street sex workers
A NEW study on street sex worker heroin users has improved their quality of life and reduced their addiction.
Two-thirds of the 34 street sex workers involved reported they had stopped sex work by the end of the 12-month study, say the authors.
The study, by the GP-led specialist Bradshaw Clinic (pictured) in Derby – which treats about 1,000 heroin addicts – is published in the July issue of the GP’s professional publication, the British Journal of General Practice.
A previous study in Bristol on street sex workers discovered 83% used heroin, and their average weekly spend on drugs and/or alcohol was £755. However, the same researchers later found very little drug use in the much larger off-street sex work industry, where the average spend was about £35.
The new Derby study involved conventional methadone substitute treatment, but backed up by intensive health and psychosocial support.
Urine samples showed some traces of heroin use by 72% of the women at the end of the study, but a previous study suggests this remaining use probably involved significantly lower quantities of the drug.
Hopes are that the results will encourage the Government to divert funding into getting to grips with the drugs issue that is currently squandered on anti-soliciting and kerb crawling drives – both of which drive vulnerable women into areas of greater danger and cause counter-productive criminal records.