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Addicts treated with heroin

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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

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Readers' comments (5)

  • "Addicts Treated With Heroin" ..... is that not a discriminatory term?
    I work within substance misuse and I am very offended by that term, look at your terms and conditions, I do believe its the second point!

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  • agree completely. heroin should be available in limited amounts on prescription. i think all street drugs should be decriminalised, quality regulated and taxed. that'd sort out the deficit.

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  • Prescription issue of heroin should have been passed years ago alongside a national register for users to be able to register for clean needles and syringes as well as clean drugs. As well as reducing the risk of cross infection/ serious adverse drug effects it would have helped damage the profits that dealers make through people's misery and suffering ie- the user, the tax payer and the victim of crime.

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  • perhaps i've been around too long but i seem to remember that a Dr. John Angus Marks argued this point many years ago in what was known as the Warrington Runcorn experiment and i think it was probably shut down by the home office with pressure from our cousins across the pond. What goes around......... What baffles me as a smoker is that my habit probably costs services much more than the use of drugs but there doesn't appear to be the moral stance. perhaps we should make drug supply a legit business similar to the tobacco industry and then the share holders would fight for acceptability and the stigma would be reduced

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  • I fear that once again the UK will show itself incapable of holding a sensible debate about drug issues. The tabloids will likely take over with moralising and scare-mongering, and the Government will run away from the debate for fear of losing votes. Very, very sad.

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