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Canada: New Heroin Maintenance Pilot Program to Get Underway Later This Year

Despite fighting in the courts to shut down Insite, Canada's only safe injection site, Canada's conservative federal government is providing funding for a heroin prescription pilot program in Vancouver and Montreal. The program will begin providing heroin to some 200 hard-core users later this year.

Known as SALOME (the Study to Assess Longer-term Opioid Medication Effectiveness), the program builds on a similar multi-year program in Vancouver that ended last summer. That program, NAOMI (the North American Opiate Medication Initiative), was funded with $8 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research with the approval of Health Canada, but the government of Prime Minister Steven Harper has refused to publicly acknowledge research findings that participants' physical and mental health improved and that they committed fewer crimes.

Still, the Institutes of Health Research are quietly throwing in $1 million for SALOME. Josee Bellemare, press secretary to Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, told the Toronto Globe & Mail: "Our government recognizes that injection drug users need assistance. That's why we are investing in prevention and treatment, to help people recover from their drug addictions."

The three-year trial will offer heroin in both pill and injectable forms, and will also offer hydromorphone to see if it could be used as a substitute. The trial will seek to assess whether prescription heroin is a safe and effective treatment and whether users will accept the drug in pill form. Researchers are currently recruiting hard-core users who have not responded to conventional treatments and say they expect to have clinics operating in the two cities by this fall.

Canada joins Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland as countries where heroin prescription programs are in place either permanently or on a trial basis. The German parliament voted last week to join the club, too.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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NOW the government is going to supply FREE heroin?

This is absolutely ridiculous!! First we encourage and enable people who OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL have chosen a self-destructive lifestyle. Now we are going to help them even more? Get Real!! For all the news stories I have heard that indicate success, I have not ever seen one real number come out of these studies. Prove I am wrong in saying that the drug problems in Vancouver have increased over the years.
For crying out loud, get some facts before you start blowing away my tax dollars on 'junk' health care for addicts!
For decades all levels of government have been reducing funding for essential services, especially health care.
So we can help these people continue this lifestyle?
Why does the government not supply the same level of support for people who have HEALTH issues that require daily medication and needles? (diabetics, people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, parkinsons disease, etc).
I absolutely oppose free injection sites, unless the users complete a rehabilitation program and I am not willing to have my tax dollars spent providing free drugs to these people.
Here's a better plan - make the dam drugs legal and tax them to pieces just like you do cigarettes. There will still be LOTS of users, but at least they will be contributing some dollars to the cost of there 'rehabilitation'.
I will not vote for any government that supports this insanity.

So pretty much to sum up your

So pretty much to sum up your opinion; It's their fault that they are really sick so we shouldn't treat them as if they are human. I wonder if you would be so opinionated if someone you really loved inflicted this lifestyle upon themself.

I think it's a good thing

I know plenty of addicts who want to quit but simply can't so instead of having them steal and reuse needles they should be given it in a safe controlled medical environment. I could use some help I am a long time addict of both Dilaudid and Herion and could really use a program like this if anyone knows a way i may be able to get it please let me know.

heroin maintance sites

I dont think u would be able 2 join the program. They already have their test group. I'm also very intrested in a program like this. All other treatments i've had failed. I've been on and off suboxone 4 years. I'll stay clean 4 a short while but that whole time i still have withdrawl symptoms. I get sick of the cold sweats, pain, and loss of sleep etc. I'm at the end of the road, the places i've gotta go 2 cop is what will kill me not the dope. I'm looking into moving 2 england, they have a great program 4 heroin users. I wish u the best, if u happen 2 find a program pls make a post so i can look into it. thank u, Erin

I know how it is with

I know how it is with suboxone and methadone treatment. They simply do not least not for me. I would in a heartbeat move somewhere where I could enroll in heroin maintenance. Unfortunately these programs seem to be exclusively for citizens of the countries where the program exists. I have the unlucky privilege of being an American. A country that spends the most money out of any country combating drugs while at the same time has citizens who spend the most money buying drugs. If  you ever do find some where that heroin maintenance is available to everyone, I'll move there with you. I promise that. Good luck until then. Mark

I am a recovered drug addict

I am a recovered drug addict with 22 months clean through a 12-step program. I went through numerous drug treatment facilities and many psychiatrists and programs. 12 step programs and complete abstinence is what has worked for me. I have experienced so many losses of friends and fellow addicts to overdose and jail. It is heartbreaking and I realize that different approaches work for different people. I live in the US where zero tolerance is still the norm and addicts are discriminated against in very inhumane ways. What Canada is implementing with harm reduction policies gives me hope that one day we too can move toward helping instead of letting people suffer or die needlessly no matter what their lifestyle is.

Heroin Maintenance is a good thing

I would like to start out by saying how important I think it is that we stop the war on drugs. A war waged on our own citizens. Prohibition does not work. This has been proven time and time again. I must admit I am prejudiced on this issue as I am a heroin addict myself and have been for nearly 15 years. I have tried many different treatment programs and even though I tried extremely hard to stop a number of times, I could not. After the physical symptoms subside, the mental part of the addiction keeps me going back for more. I do not believe addiction is a disease in the strictest sense. It is however, a mental disorder and should be treated as such. A patient who has, say, schizophrenia is not told to look to a higher power and to just stop being ill. I was never very predisposed to the 12 step program as it uses religious tenants in its procedure. In order to stop using, one has to first control the addiction. With heroin maintenance, this could be possible. It would also allow for addicts to be seen as people who truly have a disorder and are not simply criminals. Heroin has caused me much grief, mostly because I would spend time acquiring money and chasing after drug dealers. It was never a forgone conclusion that I would obtain what I needed. The time I wasted getting the drug is by far the biggest waste of my life. If treatment in the form of prescription heroin was available, I would have had more time in seeking treatment or being in a position to find it. I may be a heroin addict, but I am still a sensitive and intelligent human being who still suffers because of choices I made as a teen. We will not overcome addiction in North America until we admit to ourselves that addict are people. People who need help. It should not be up to politicians to make decisions on how to best treat those afflicted with addiction. I am a heroin addict, but I still have enough sense to be able to see that the war on drugs in completely ineffective. Thank you for taking time to read this.

I don't think anyone

I don't think anyone commented on the claim about health care dollars...

FYI these type of programs save money in the long run, as insite has done. The cost of dealing with the issue is much cheaper than dealing with its consequences (crime, HIV, overdoses, malnutrition, mental disorders, income assistance...)

Heroin hyromorphone maintenance in the USA

the attitude here in the states has always been considered a crime since the Harrison Narcotic act of 1915


how can us Americans ever be treated  like human beings,  please give some advice!!!

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