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'Make heroin free on NHS', mid-life stress linked to Alzheimer’s and why chocolate is good for the heart

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Tuesday 17 August.

By Ian Quinn

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Tuesday 17 August.

Illegal drugs such as heroin should be prescribed free on the NHS to cut crime and save taxpayers' cash, according to a top doctor, whose claim, not surprisingly, causes much debate in today's papers.

In Sir Ian Gilmore's opinion the law on substances such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis should be relaxed, allowing doctors to add them to the list of drugs they prescribe alongside the likes of statins.

In a move which raises interesting possibilities for the future of patient-held budgets, he argues the move would save billions spent fighting drug crime, saving taxpayers a fortune in the process and leading to a reduction in drug-related theft and diseases like HIV.

‘There is a strong case for trying a different approach. I'm not saying we should make heroin available to everyone, but we should be treating it as a health issue rather than criminalising people,' says Sir Ian - a former president of the Royal College of Physicians no less.

Yet while the professor wants to prescribe heroin on the NHS, he also launches an attack on Labour's introduction of 24-hour drinking laws and ‘irresponsible' supermarkets selling cheap booze.

April 1 may seem a long way away but if the thought of free class As from the doc seems unlikely, what about news that chocolate is good for your heart?

As the Daily Mail points out, it's the news that millions of sweet-toothed women and weed-smokers have been waiting for, although sadly the dreaded phrase 'in moderation' crops up, not for the first time in such research.

The Telegraph follows up on Andrew Lansley's pledge that the coalition will make good on previous Government promises to scrap mixed sex wards, with the news that thousands of hospital patients stayed in such accommodation last year. Would be interesting to find out if men or women snore most...

And finally, the Mail reports on the cheery news that mid-life stress can increase the risk of women developing Alzheimer's by 65%.

'Calm down' is the Michael Winner-style advice on the Daily Mail website.

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know and we'll update the digest throughout the day.

Daily digest

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