Heroin and synthetic opioids are among most dangerous drugs in the world. Heroin has caused almost 16,000 deaths in the United States in 2017, a huge increase from 2,000-3,000 annual deaths between 2002 and 2010. This tragic trend asks for solutions. Other countries may have found them, but some persons may not like this treatment idea.
What is a heroin-assisted treatment? Basically, the national healthcare gives you heroin. But why? There are other solutions, aren’t there? Typical treatment for heroin addicts is opiate replacement therapy using drugs like methadone or buprenorphine. But not every patient responds well to this type of treatment.
The alternative is heroin-assisted treatment. It was clinically tried and proved successful in Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. It is already part of health care system in these countries. Clinical trials are also being carried out in Belgium, Norway and the United Kingdom.
Giving drugs to drug addicts may seem like a controversial idea, but the patients are given clean medical heroin in a controlled setting where medical professionals won’t let one overdose. It also decreases criminal behavior, improves life quality and social functioning. It helps mental health as well.
Introduction in the United States is quite unlikely. Drug Free America Foundation and other significantly influential organizations oppose to heroin-assisted treatment as a viable alternative for drug users.
New heroin-assisted treatment: Recent evidence and current practices of supervised injectable heroin treatment in Europe and beyond