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  1. chillinwill
    Injectable "medical" grade heroin should be offered under supervision to the most hardened addicts, say UK researchers.

    A trial in 127 addicts who had persistently failed to quit the drug showed a significant drop in use of "street" heroin after six months.

    Writing in The Lancet, the researchers said the "robust evidence" supports wider provision of heroin treatment.

    A spokesman for the government said it would consider the findings.

    Around 5-10% of heroin addicts fail to quit despite use of conventional treatments, such as methadone.

    Those who took part in the trial had been using the drug for an average of 17 years and had been in treatment for 10 years.

    When they took part in the programme they were on methadone treatment but were still taking street heroin on a regular basis.

    The researchers - working at clinics in south London, Brighton and Darlington - found that those offered injectable heroin under the supervision of a nurse were significantly more likely to cut down their use of street heroin than those receiving oral or injectable methadone.

    Improvements were seen within six weeks of starting the programme, they reported.

    In further analysis yet to be published, it was noted that the benefits remained after two years and some patients were able to stop use of the drug altogether.

    Treatable

    Study leader, Professor John Strang, from the National Addiction Centre at King's College London, said the supervised heroin programme enables patients to start thinking about employment, re-engaging with their families and taking responsibility for their lives.

    "This is a treatment for a severe group of heroin addicts that ordinary treatments have failed with and the question we're answering is 'are these patients untreatable?'."

    "The very good news is that you can get these people on a constructive trajectory."

    He said the latest study plus a series of other trials now provide clear evidence that this type of treatment should be offered more widely.

    It was outlined in the UK government's 2008 Drug Strategy, subject to the results from this trial.

    He added that although more expensive than conventional treatments, heroin therapy is considerably cheaper than imprisonment.

    A Department of Health spokesman said any approach that gets people off drugs for good should be explored.

    "We will look at evidence and both the clinical and cost effectiveness of these treatments.

    "However, it is vital that we do all we can to prevent people using drugs in the first place."

    Dr Roy Robertson a reader in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Edinburgh University, said whilst none of the outcomes are close to achieving abstinence, treatment with supervised injectable heroin "seems to be our best option".

    "This is the intensive care for those heroin users who have failed after all sorts of other available treatments and continue to inject."

    DrugScope chief executive Martin Barnes added that there is no "magic bullet" and several treatment interventions may be needed before someone becomes drug free or cuts down their drug use.

    "On the basis of the outcomes described, there is a strong case for extending heroin prescribing as a carefully targeted and closely supervised form of treatment for chronic addiction."

    By Emma Wilkinson
    May 28, 2010
    BBC News
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/10175671.stm

Comments

  1. gammabetalactone
    Sorry but I don't agree with this in the slightest. People shouldn't be given drugs on the NHS so they can get high.

    If these people don't want to get off drugs then the hell with them. You've gotta put in the hard work and get off heroin with treatment.

    How is giving someone heroin going to get them off heroin?
  2. Birkill
    Sounds like swiy has never had a H habbit, its not to get them off just to stabalize them and stop them from costing the "system" more money through prison costs or other hospital costs etc!
  3. chillinwill
    Because this takes out the criminal aspect of it, saves the system shitloads of money, purity and dose is known, in theory an addict's life quality will rise because they will not have to be on the constant lookout for money, dealers, who and where to meet, spending all day thinking about heroin and how to find the money to get it, etc. Since the dose and purity are known for maintenance, this will help eliminate the possibility of overdose and contaminants in the heroin. They can just go to a clinic, get their dose, and get moving with their daily activities. Keep in mind this has already been implemented in several places for the most hardcore of the hardcore addicts who have tried every other method of "treatment" and have failed. These are the heroin addicts who have had habits for 20+ years in a lot of cases.

    The same principle can be said for methadone, although many methadone maintenance treatment user's end up failing miserably, and still use heroin on top of the methadone. Even the methadone or buprenorphine maintenance people can end up spending the rest of their life on one of these replacement drugs. So what is currently implemented by the government does work for some, for many, many others, it doesn't work at all.

    The use of pharmacueutical diamorphine to treat heroin addiction is an interesting aspect, and although it is controversial, in the end, it will help through so many different reasons.
  4. Pringles
    I can only agree with this idea. If drug usage has gone beyond pleasure seeking / relief from ones condition to a bodily requirement then you clearly have a medical condition, self induced or not. Perhaps those Bradford prostitutes lives would have been saved if this was the case. People don't have sex with strangers for £20 unless they are desperate. These are real people with real addictions & should be helped in a non judgmental & objective way.
  5. Spucky
    AW: Heroin therapy call for chronic addicts

    Do someone have actual Data of how many % of Heroin-Therapy places are occupied?

    I Looking for Data from the UK., Netherlands, Spain, etc.!

    Because i've heard that many/ all Facilities in Germany have not enough Patients!

    A Heroin-Therapy is a kind of a Treatment,
    for many Hard-Core Addicted People not the Heroin itself is the issue!
  6. araceli

    Sorry but the point is not to stop heroin use with this kind of treatment. It´s a work of public health.

    I don´t think leaving the heroin addicts with physical and psychological problems and social disorganization to their own is the best solution. :thumbsdown:

    I think this type of treatment may be as valid as other and more, can be an alternative for this kind of addict people.

    I work in a harm reduction program using heroin treatment and I can say that it works and there are intravenous heroin users who can normalize their lives: they can return with their relatives, they work again or they even consider leaving the drug use in the future.

    So I think we may open our minds.
  7. araceli
    Re: AW: Heroin therapy call for chronic addicts


    I´d like to answer your question about how many % of heroin therapy places are occupied in Spain. Nowadays there is about 45 % of heroin therapy places occupied in Granada, Spain. I don´t know the data in the other countries where this treatment exists.
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