Heroin clinics help addicts stay off street drugs: study - Macleans.ca

Heroin clinics help addicts stay off street drugs: study

Could help those who don’t respond to methadone


So-called “heroin clinics,” where the drug is prescribed to addicts who can’t wean themselves from the drug, can actually help them stay off street drugs, according to British researchers. As of now, doctors have had little success treating the 10 per cent of heroin users who don’t respond to methadone, which is an anti-addiction medication. Heroin addiction can then drive them to crime and disease, affecting society as a whole. “They are like oil tankers heading for disaster,” said study author Dr. John Strang of King’s College London. “The question we were asking was, ‘Can we change the trajectory of these tankers?’ And the answer was, ‘Yes we can.'” The team invited 127 addicts into supervised injecting clinics, randomly choosing who would get heroin, injected methadone or swallowed methadone. After six months, 101 addicts stuck with the treatment; more than two-thirds of those on heroin had no street heroin in their urine at least half the time they were tested. Before the study, they’d been using street drugs almost every day. These people physically improved and were able to slowly reintegrate into society, they said.


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