Is prescription heroin the future of addiction treatment?
As a UBC student, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the current opioid crisis in Vancouver. Advertisements for Naloxone — an opioid overdose-reversing drug — are plastered across campus and yet when these are coupled with news headlines of record-high overdose rates, it’s natural to wonder if there exist other forms of treatment.
On March 17, the School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) hosted a talk which explored the need for medically prescribed heroin in the addiction treatment system. The talk was led by Dr. Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes, associate professor at the SPPH and a scientist at the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences. It was supported by discussion from successful participants of Oviedo-Joekes’ clinical trials in using medically prescribed heroin.
Medically prescribed heroin is more formally known as diacetylmorphine (DAM). It is already permitted for use in a few European countries and as of September 2016, Health Canada has approved its use by doctor’s prescription for chronic addicts.
Allison Gacad reports
Dr. Michael O'Shaughnessy