Success of medical-grade heroin in Europe prompts calls for treatment in Vancouver

Three years ago, Russell Cooper was living in a homeless shelter, addicted to heroin he would buy in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Now, he lives in his own one-bedroom apartment, and values the control he has over his life.

The Vancouver resident hasn't kicked his addiction, but he's mitigated the damage after becoming a patient at Vancouver's Crosstown Clinic, the only medical centre in Canada that prescribes medical-grade heroin.

“I'm at Crosstown Clinic twice a day, and its great,” said Russell, who's one of the clinic's 95 patients — 23 of which receive hydromorphone, a legal, licensed opioid analgesic. “Life is good to me.”

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