Could prescription heroin be the next step in treating addiction?

When Philadelphia announced its support of Comprehensive User Engagement Sites (CUES) — also known as safe injection facilities — [opponents] came out in full force, to battle with misinformation and zero data … While we should hold Big Pharma accountable for its deceptive marketing practices, and the chemical makeup of some substances does put individuals at higher risk for dependence, the opioid crisis is much more complicated than that.

Environmental factors such as trauma, loneliness, isolation, and unemployment are not to be ignored either when trying to understand how we got here. Those hit hardest by the Great Recession experienced all of the above. It’s also worth noting that the problems we associate with addiction – like crime, disease, and overdose – start when the substances are taken away.  Medication-assisted recovery — which is the use of FDA-approved medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and extended-release naltrexone (combined with psychosocial therapy) — … [may currently appear to be] the most effective treatment for opioid use disorder. But for the nearly 40 percent of individuals for whom it is ineffective, heroin-assisted treatment is a viable second-line option … Every study on the use of diamorphine (pharmaceutical heroin) to treat heroin addiction under medical supervision has demonstrated positive outcomes. In the countries where it’s provided, it’s created a sharp reduction in illicit drug use, crime, disease, and overdose. It’s also improved individuals’ overall health and well-being and helped them reintegrate into society by securing stable housing and employment.

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Could prescription heroin be the next step in treating addiction?
Artwork Fair Use: Pete Chapman

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