Pain medication can be used to treat severe heroin addicts: Vancouver study

For nine years, Max’s life spiralled out of control as a heroin addiction following a car crash had him living on the streets, barely eating and constantly hungering for his next fix.

Methadone treatment failed, and he thought he’d die. But in 2011, he was recruited into a study to test the effectiveness of a pain medication called hydromorphone versus pharmaceutical-grade heroin for addicts after other treatments hadn’t worked.

Researchers from Providence Health Care, the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences at St. Paul’s Hospital, and the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia said the results underscore the urgent need for more treatment options for chronic addicts.

Camille Bains reports

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