Canada: Montreal Heroin Maintenance Study in Doubt after Quebec Refuses to Pay

Fresh on the success of NAOMI, the North American Opiate Maintenance Initiative, in which hard-core heroin addicts in Vancouver were given either methadone, heroin, or Dilaudid in maintenance doses, Canadian researchers announced earlier this year plans to broaden and deeper their research with SALOME, the Study to Assess Long-term Opiate Maintenance Effectiveness. SALOME was supposed to begin this fall in Vancouver and Montreal, but Quebec provincial authorities have thrown a wrench in the works. The Toronto Star reported this week that Quebec has balked on paying its share of the project, stopping the Montreal portion of SALOME in its tracks. The Vancouver portion, supported by the British Columbia provincial government, is set to move forth. Quebec's refusal to pay its share—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research are kicking in $1 million for the three-year project—led Montreal's SALOME head researcher to charge the government with discrimination. The decision will have "disastrous consequences for people addicted to heroin and (who) don't respond to standard treatment," said Dr. Suzanne Brissette, chief of addiction medicine at Saint-Luc hospital. "There is no other treatment for these people." NAOMI showed that heroin maintenance worked for people for whom methadone and other forms of treatment had not, she said. Had researchers found a treatment for cancer or diabetes, Quebec would not hesitate to help fund it, she added. "It's a clear case of discrimination," she said. "We have a treatment that works and they're saying, `Sorry folks, you won't get it.'" NAOMI researchers estimate that Canada has between 60,000 and 90,000 heroin addicts. The NAOMI trials found that addicts on maintenance heroin used less illicit heroin, committed fewer crimes, and adapted healthier life-styles.
Location: 
Montreal, QC
Canada
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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The Montreal Star folded in 1979!

The Montreal Star folded thirty years ago. You linked to a press release.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Star

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