Providing heroin on prescription to severe addicts is more likely to keep them in rehabilitation programmes than the substitute methadone, new research has claimed.
A study team from the National Addiction Center at King’s College London has claimed the approach could help the 10% most chronic users who fail to respond to more conventional treatment methods.
A total of 127 addicts were given various treatment methods and, after 26 weeks, 80% of them were still getting therapy - 88% on injectable heroin, 80% on injectable methadone and 69% on oral methadone.
Those injecting heroin (66%) were also most likely to test negative for street heroin more than half the time, compared to 30% in the injectable methadone group and only 19% among those taking oral methadone, the study reported in The Lancet medical journal.
National Addiction Centre head John Strang said: “Our scientific understanding about how to treat people with severe heroin addiction has taken an important step forward. This study shows that previously unresponsive patients can achieve major reductions in their use of street heroin.”
Click here for The Lancet article