Narcotic pain medication could be alternative treatment for heroin users

A licensed pain medication could be used as an effective treatment for chronic heroin addiction, according to new research.

The results of a multi-year clinical trial testing alternative treatments for heroin addiction published on Wednesday provide another option for addictswho have found traditional treatment to be ineffective, the researchers said.

The Study to Assess Longer-term Opioid Medication Effectiveness (Salome) was started in 2011 by researchers from Providence Health Care and other public health organizations in Vancouver. The Salome study was launched as a successor to previous research which found injectable, prescription heroin to be a more effective treatment than methadone. The Salome study found hydromorphone to be equally effective as prescription heroin. Injectable diacetylmorphine, as prescription heroin is known, is a controversial treatment option in some countries, including Canada and the US, but is used regularly in multiple other countries including the United Kingdom and Germany.

Ciara McCarthy reports

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