BERLIN (AP) — German lawmakers have voted to allow the prescription of synthetic heroin to long-term addicts who fail to respond to other treatments.
The lower house of parliament approved the measure Thursday.
It would apply only to people aged at least 23 who have been addicted for at least five years and undergone two previous, unsuccessful rehabilitation programs.
A cross-party group of supporters says pilot programs in seven German cities found that controlled prescription of synthetic heroin, or diamorphine, at approved facilities helped addicts who failed to respond to treatment with methadone.
Neighboring Switzerland has long had similar programs. They have been credited with reducing drug-related crime and improving addicts' health.
May 28, 2009