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Charity funds addicts contraception

A US charity has paid 26 female drug addicts in Britain to have contraceptive coils or implants fitted, according to reports.

Project Prevention said it has made initial payments of £60 and a UK-based charity is hoping to launch a similar scheme.

Barbara Harris, who founded the US charity, attracted criticism in October after offering to pay British addicts £200 if they were sterilised.

Martin Barnes, chief executive of charity DrugScope, said the concept is "exploitative, ethically dubious and morally questionable".

No women took up the incentive, but Ms Harris hopes focusing on birth control will be more successful.

She told Radio 5 Live: "It's tough to kick a drug habit, but at least if these women get on birth control it's one less thing that they have to worry about in their lives.

"People have to understand that these women don't want to conceive children that are just going to be taken away from them."

UK charity Kaleidoscope Project is planning to launch a similar incentive scheme in which addicts could receive up to £50 to use at a supermarket if they attend a family clinic and discuss the consequences of having sex.

Bryan Cusick, drugs services manager for Kaleidoscope in Kingston, south-west London, said: "It's important we accept the fact that - although we might not agree with their methods - the work of Project Prevention has started an important debate."

A British Medical Association spokesman said: "We do not have a view on Project Prevention. If a GP receives a request from a drug addict patient for sterilisation or long-term contraception, the focus of the consultation must be on the overall interests of the patient."

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