Injecting common painkiller an alternative to heroin, Vancouver study finds

Offering a legal painkiller to chronic heroin addicts can help them stop using street drugs and reduce the crime that goes along with it, concludes a Vancouver-based study released Wednesday.

The finding published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in JAMA Psychiatry, could open the way to prescribing hydromorphone to people who have been unable to quit street drugs using methadone or suboxone, the only two opiate substitutes approved in Canada.

Addictions researcher Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes headed SALOME  — the Study to Assess Longer-term Opioid Medication Effectiveness — at Providence Health Care’s Crosstown Clinic in the heart of the Downtown Eastside on Hastings Street. It compared hydromorphone, an opioid pain medication sold under the brand name Dilaudid, with injections of the active ingredient in heroin called diacetylmorphine.

Erin Ellis reports

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