Prescribing Heroin To Treat Heroin Addiction: It Isn’t Black And White

drug prescription bottle

Late last year, Canada took an extreme preventative measure to try to aid the ongoing opioid crisis growing in the country: prescription heroin. Canada’s Special Access Program made it legal for verified doctors to prescribe diacetylmorphine, which is pharmaceutical grade heroin, according to Motherboard, a publication of Vice.

How The Program Works

For now, the program is operating out of Vancouver where one of the world’s first SIF, safe injection facility, has begun operations. According to the laws set forth by the government under the program, an addict can’t just walk into a Vancouver doctor’s office and ask for a prescription for heroin. Instead, there has to be a demonstrated history of attempts at treatment and recovery without success. Those attempts can include hospitalizations, course of treatment at residential treatment facilities, and prescriptions for substitute drug therapy medications like Suboxone or Methadone.

Some of the programs other requirements are interesting and to many conservative believers in recovery, controversial. A patient doesn’t just receive a prescription for heroin to pick up at the pharmacy and use intravenously on their own. They must attend the clinic two to three times a day to receive the injection from the doctor or give themselves the injection in the SIF.

The Philosophy Behind SIF And Prescribed Injections

Heroin purchased on the black market is rarely pure. With the increasing presence of Fentanyl, the deadly synthetic opioid which can be 100 times stronger than morphine, being found in heroin, intravenous use can be deadly. Canada’s health officials understand that the risk of death in intravenous heroin use is two fold. First, is the impurity of the drug. Second, is withdrawals. Withdrawals from heroin, especially intravenous use, can be as high risk as the drug use itself. With a safe place to use, using a guaranteed dose and quality, and the proper medical supervision to prevent withdrawals, over time a patient can work with a doctor to taper off the drug and seek treatment.

According to Motherboard, “experts say it’s not realistic to go from all to nothing overnight, especially when addicts have a build up of the drug in their bodies. Moreover, if they quit cold turkey and their tolerance plummets, they’re more vulnerable to overdose if they relapse and try to shoot up what used to be their regular dose.”

As Canada continues to fight for addict’s lives, Aurora Recovery Center continues to provide quality residential treatment for men and women seeking recovery from opioid addiction and dual diagnosis issues. If you or a loved one are in need of help, call us today at 844-515-STOP.

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