Canada Just Legalized Heroin to Control Drug Addiction

heroin, drug addiction, epidemic
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In an effort to treat Canadians enslaved by a junk habit, the Liberal government has taken action against an old law by imposing a new set of regulations that will allow medical professionals to provide addicts with daily doses of pharmaceutical-grade heroin.

Earlier last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration made a move to revamp some of the extreme anti-drug policies that were put on the books by the Conservative government during its rule. Specifically, the change involves a tweak in the language of Health Canada’s Special Access Program, giving physicians the freedom to treat severe cases of heroin addiction with a prescription form of the drug known as diacetylmorphine.

Canadian health officials did not make any real noise over the newly amended drug policy. It was not until a federal notice got published on the government’s Canada Gazette that it was revealed legal heroin was set to make a comeback in the northern nation.

“Canada is currently facing an opioid overdose crisis, and we need to assist our healthcare providers in treating their patients, including those who are suffering from chronic relapsing opioid dependency,” Health Canada said in a statement. “Scientific evidence supports the medical use of diacetylmorphine for the treatment of chronic relapsing opioid dependence in certain individual cases. Health Canada recognizes the importance of providing physicians with the power to make evidence-based treatment proposals in these exceptional cases.”

The concept of administering diacetylmorphine to Canadians suffering from decades of heroin addiction is an approach that has been used for around the past 10 years at the Crosstown Clinic in Vancouver. There, more than 50 of the most hardcore heroin addiction cases in the area—those who no longer respond to traditional methadone treatments—have been enrolled in a controversial outpatient drug maintenance program, which entails receiving free injections of medical-grade heroin three times a day.

But the program is not something that is easy to endure. Since this therapy is an outpatient procedure, addicts must get themselves to the clinic up to three times a day—regardless of work or family responsibilities. Failure to comply with the rules is grounds for disqualification.

However, a recent report from the Washington Post suggests that, despite the program’s strict participation requirements, the rate for which the enlisted addicts are unsuccessful in fulfilling their obligation is amazingly low, begging the question: Could this health policy help put a leash on the opioid epidemic in the United States?

Dr. Scott MacDonald, head physician at Crosstown, believes it could.

Over the summer, the expert on heroin-assisted therapy testified on Capitol Hill that providing addicts with the drug in a controlled environment contributes to healthier individuals and helps prevent the kind of desperation that often leads to addicts getting wrapped up in drug-related crime.

A number of other countries, including Denmark and Switzerland, have already embraced this therapy.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s latest move toward common sense health and drug reform should come as no surprise.

In April, the Liberal government announced plans to eliminate marijuana prohibition across the entire nation. The idea is to cripple criminal organization by establishing a taxed and regulated marketplace—keeping the substance out of the hands of children and promoting responsible use.

Some of the latest reports indicate that Canada’s scheme to implement a full-scale legal cannabis trade will come about at some point during the first half of 2017.

For all the latest news on marijuana legalization, click here.



  2. Canada DID NOT just legalize heroin to combat addiction. To have or sell heroin is just as illegal as it ever was. Click bait title makes me feel shame for journalists who bullshit people. Canada gave doctors more discretionary right to prescribe opiates to addicts. That is so different than what the title implies.

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        1. The CRE just released a packet to the DEA to follow the proper guidelines for scheduling this plant. They won’t be able to prove it’s harmful so therfore it won’t become illegal (kind of). The DEA can turn a blind eye to this but if they do they’ll be breaking 3 federal laws. The CRE are the police to the DEA.

          1. kinda like they did with cannabis??? Do you really think anyone cares if the DEA breaks laws. They do it every day. “Proving” it’s harmful is a very subjective standard. The Schafer committee “proved” that marijuana was NOT harmful, and even beneficial, but that didn’t stop the Drug War, now, did it?

      1. lol Kratom works for opiate-naive, trying to get a long term IV user to cope with just Kratom is a literal recipe for disaster…been there done that…

        1. Umm you are completely wrong. I myself have been off heroin for almost 3 years now. Kratom has helped me cope with pain, and boosts my mood. As far as illegal, not until the fat lady sings. The CRE has put their for down and wants the DEA to follow proper procedures to making it a schedule 1 drug which it can’t, if they don’t follow procedure they’ll be breaking 3 federal laws and that’ll put a nail in the coffin about the DEA being corrupt as fuck.

          1. That doesn’t matter because I went through the physical WD’s too many times. I don’t use Kratom for withdraws, I use it for migraine’s. I haven’t had one since I started over 2 years ago. Plus the little boost of energy it gives you I’ve now stopped drinking energy drinks. I used to drink 3 monsters a day. I became addicted to pain pills because i tore my rotator cuff. Got cut off and left with no taper routine, explanation of why i was cut off. I still have pain in my shoulder also my knees are screwed. I don’t want to be put back on pain meds and i don’t want to be in pain. It alleviates a lot of the pain but not all of it, just enough to where it’s tolerable. I’m an adult who can make adult decisions and I choose to take Kratom. I’m not hurting anyone I’m actually more beneficial when I’m on kratom, i can be more active.

          2. it does matter. my whole point was that kratom, while beneficial for pill poppers like yourself, doesn’t do a whole lot to stave off WD in people who have been intravenously using drugs harder than just pills

          3. Listen I wasnt going to put my personal life story out there because that’s the past but YES I WAS AN IV user. I slammed at least a gram a day for over a year. I didn’t use kratom to detox. My whole point is that I don’t want to live in pain which is why i got prescribed vicodin due to a torn rotator cuff, and i have really bad knees also. I’m not trying to see who’s dick is bigger. I don’t want to take pain pills again and possibly start that endless cycle again.

          4. well, okay. my point was and still is , is that kratom isn’t very beneficial for detox after being a long-term IV user. given that you didn’t use it to detoz, you wouldn’t really be able to combat my point. anyway, i’m glad it gives you some benefit.

          5. Yeah bro that’s not true. I’ve been shooting dope for 12 years and tried kratom for withdrawals once. I was still throwing up 10 or more times a day. When it habit gets real bad subutex and Suboxone or even weak pain killers won’t do shit.

          6. I did a detox for opiates, I went through methadone WD’s which suck way worse than heroin, yes I used to be a gram a day iv user. I didn’t use Kratom to detox from opiates I use it because every pharmaceutical drug I’ve used for pain has caused negative effects in my life. Why not try something natural? Well, only positive things have come to me from talking kratom. Why criminalize older generations, Elder people because they choose to eat an herb that has not caused one death. We are fighting for marijuana because it was unjustly accused of being the “Devils lettuce”. It was put on this planet for a reason.

    1. lol you mean you’d just like to get it for free. im in the same boat as you, six years now. MMT and bupe work for maintenance but as you probably know, maintenance isn’t good enough. it’s never gonna happen here in the states. if you really wanted to quit you’d just get by with MMT or subs. lol but no one ever wants to quit , not even me

      1. I do in just scared as hell to:( been on it way to long. If we ever had a zombie apocolyose. I’d be sooooo fucked. Withdrawing on methadone while out running zombies…lol

    2. You could just start going to NA, ween your self off and just deal with the withdrawl symptoms like a real man. In time you will be able to deal with it – you just need to get over that first hump. I have a few friends that have done this. it worked for them, also get on Vivitrol – you wont be able to get high anymore. you can do this if you put your heart and soul into it.

      1. Spoken like someone who has no idea what addiction is actually like. There is no first hump. It’s a never ending climb until you die.

        1. I don’t think he gets the mortality rate of unassisted recovery. I helped pass DATA2000, allowing 30 day take homes and introducing OBOT (office based) bup. I was against Suboxone, as no addict should have any Naloxone in their system, but more conservative minds won out.

          1. There is no mortality rate with substance free recovery. Heroin withdrawl will not kill you – alcohol will, I know this from first hand experience. I have many friends that are recovered addicts. The thing everyone forgets is suboxone and methadone have potential for causing fatalities when completely stopping them – the dope does not!

            all that being said, you speak either like you have never actually been an addict or been addicted to anything.

            my friends that have quit told me about their trials and tribulations, they tell me it took about 1-3 years for them to feel the light of the sun again as non-addicted people do. They tell me that getting over withdrawl and dope sickness was the hard part, then fixing the addict inside was the next part of the journey. You can accomplish these things with support groups – I go to them and offer my kindness and support. I know the feeling of addiction, different substance, but we are all fellows of the same path.

            Do not ostracize me cause my views are different. I have seen the fruits of support group and abstinence based recovery. It does work – the addict has to be willing to change their life and deal with cleaning up the person they became to become the person they once were.

          2. I am just disagreeing, not “ostracizing” you. Look up the word. Had to totally laugh. “I sound like someone who has never been addicted”. Not only did I complete a 2 1/2 year abstinence recovery program, as you promote, I helped to pass the Drug Abuse Treatment Act as a Graduate Student at NAU, wrote my MLA thesis on Opiate Recovery in the 21st Century, and my MHA thesis was a Human Relations manual for Methadone Therapy Programs, which is in current use. I have been cited and published on drug addiction, recovery, and opioid use. I have served on the Director Boards of ARM and NORML; I have written and advised Drug Policy Alliance, Methadone Today, NAMA, and more. I also relapsed after 10 years and Methadone saved my life. I don’t agree with everything about its use and abuse, and information like you are promoting makes being on Methadone for any reason so stigmatizing, so many Opiophobes in this Country. I also think it is given to people who don’t really need it. I think that EVERYONE should go through abstinence based treatment first. I believe you are wrong about Heroin detox not being able to kill you. Show me ONE reliable and reputable citation on that, please. Not only is shooting heroin equivalent to playing Russian Roulette, making any “cutting down” equally dangerous, the entire concept is ridiculous. Does the idea that an addict would take a little out of their score, every 8 hours, until they are buying a balloon and using a grain, make any sense at all to any one, let alone another addict?
            I WISH that opiate addicts could hide for two or three weeks, go through the withdrawals without a seizure or accident or suicide, or the loss of their job, children, or freedom. But the problem is much deeper than withdrawals. And much deeper than “being a man” or “dealing with it”. No psychologist, counselor, friend, or 12 step program can replace the opiates that are missing in the addicts system. Opiate addiction is an illness; not a personality disorder. Yes, some people get “hooked” on opiates because they used too many pain pills, but their recovery usually sticks. Others are born with a damaged endorphin system. It may never be a problem if they are not exposed to opiates, but if they are, they realize that is what is missing. Keeping them from what their body needs is like denying a diabetic insulin. In fact, the two diseases are often compared.
            So while I respect your opinion, as it has been your experience, I disagree with your assessment of addiction recovery in regards to opiates. Cocaine, methamphetamine, benzos, and all that other crap out there, those addicts totally need abstinence and psychological help. True, intractable opiate addiction MUST be medically managed. Just sayin.

          3. ^This except I disagree with you on that not being the case for any narcotic except opiates. Especially benzos.

          4. Honestly staying clean is harder for me than getting clean for a few weeks. I’ve done it medicated and cold turkey. But since I’ve started the longest clean time I had was a year. But I was also in prison and 6 months of it were in the hole. I was also noticed than I’ve ever been.

      2. OMG. Did 2.5 years abstinence recovery (deferred adjudication ) and relapsed 11 years later. If you block your opiate receptors with Vivitrol, or any antagonist, what happens when you need pain relief? After surgery…injury. Imagine that. Postin on this, in critique, look for soon. Http.// . Be a man? Oh, you understand little of opiate withdrawal. It can be fatal. Seriously

        1. Also, I have been detoxing from mathadone. 18 weeks of hell and Im still stuck on those last 2 mgs. I was on 120mgs. As bad as when I dropped from 100 to 90, if not worse. Haven’t had more than 2 hours of sleep in 6 months. I think I’m battle fatigued. Any advice, besides grab my ovaries and deal…die.

          1. You can do it Kim. Believe in your self. Bolster your will power by taking the time to help your fellows, help them conquer their addictions as well. Unity is the bond that helps us recover.

          2. Yeah methadone was worse than heroin withdrawals. But vivitrol only blocks ur receptors for a month at a time. I’m getting the shot next week for the first time. I’ve only got 7 days… I’m trying keep ur head up

          3. I am tapering 2mg a week. At 32 at moment. Never been above 96 and was prego. 8 YEAR minus 6 months. 6.5 years ago tapered from clinic but on last 20 mg they financially detoxed me I’m less than 2 weeks:( wasn’t ready ended up overdosing on fentanyl 6months later. I lived and went back on methadone. Been there since… but I have found that CANNABIS is the one thing that helps a little with the withdrawals. 30 mg of concentrated marijuana with some coconut oil or even anytime of edible an hour before bed. Sleep pretty good

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      4. This guy right here. ^ This guy is the reason people hate people who are addicted to opiates. You spread misinformation with the kind of confidence that leads me to believe you are either a paid shill, a troll or a complete moron… perhaps all three.

      5. I’m getting the vivitrol shot next week. It’s the only thing I haven’t tried. I’ve got a week today cold turkey so I’m a little better. I’m so tired… when I’m shooting dope I don’t really care if I live or die. It’s almost like death seems easier but that’s crazy and weak asf. I want to be normal.

        1. @disqus_Jsgkvz96BY:disqus I hope the Vivitrol helped, and you are ok. Know that suicidal ideology is so very common during withdrawal, try to remember the drug, being dope sick, and all you’ve been through is causing it. This is why Kurt Cobain died, and why I am for Medically Assisted treatment. This is most difficult for “functioning” addicts, I know. But “functioning” addicts rarely function well for long. Best wishes, in the fight myself.

          1. Yeah I’m alright I made it another week and am in a program that’s helping. I still haven’t got the shot they’re supposed to start me on the naltrexone pills in the next few days to see if my body rejects it. Thanks for asking. Stay strong it’s nothing but a thing we have to overcome if we want to live any type of normal life. I’ve got two weeks today. Keep your head up.

    3. Ronnie – Ibogaine, look it up. My friend was on 800 MG of oxy’s a day, and was cured in 24 hours at a clinic in Mexico.

      1. Don’t do Ibogaine- not miracle cure all as made out to be. I’ve done twice once in Ireland and once in Mexico, and it does re-set your brain receptors like you have never done drug before. However it basically speeds you up (not energy wise but not being able to sleep ) to where u won’t be able to sleep more than 1-3 hours for months. Check out Gaba Pentin- ( spelling??) I’ve known few heroin addicts that got clean with no withdrawal symptoms taking GABA- non controlled substance, and your brain naturally produces GABA. You have upset stomach for few days -Imodium – but seems to be the best way to detox, with minimal withdrawal symptoms- there’s no easy way and I believe you have to make the decision to get clean just for you, by you. Help this info helps anyone- all opiate addicts have been desperate for help/ way outta hell!

        1. What the hell are you a shill for big pharma methadone? None of what you say happened to my friend. he was tired for a month after and slept for hours. He started a new life and went head on with clarity and purpose. This was 3 years ago & he’s still clean today. Oh, and he went here: Go on youtube and watch 100’s of testimonials.

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  5. I don’t find it “surprising” that the rates of adherence to the strict programmatic rules is high! If someone knows they’re getting hearty doses of powerfully strong and legal heroin multiple times per day, they’re gonna be there, whether that means leaving their job or whatever other obligations they have. Nonetheless I agree with harm reduction.

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  7. Glad to see there could be hope. My daughter of only 18 has been clean off heroin for 4 months, she went to rehab for 2 months then relapsed tried again but relapsed this 3rd time she seems to be on track now after permanent relocation to avoid previous friends/hookups etc. It sounds like this could work for those who need the help. Hopefully they can start to offer help for those under 18 years of age rather than watching them suffer for a year before you can get them help.

    1. I hope it works for her. I came down to Boca Raton FL for a halfway house and after 2 months was shooting dope in the projects in Miami. I now have 7 days clean.

    1. Very few heroin addicts can afford a trip to Mexico to cure their addiction. If they had that much money lying around and they wanted to quit they would just pay to go to rehab.

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  8. Go back about 120 years and heroin was used legally for pain, as it was considered less addictive and gentler than morphine, its synthetic analog. Opoids are opoids, and that’s that. They all more or less work the same, and are more or less addictive. To demonize one and legitimatize another makes little sense from a scientific standpoint

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    1. Because the price of the drug is far cheaper than the petty theft, policing and medical care costs these addicts incur when using street heroin.

  11. “In April, the Liberal government announced plans to eliminate marijuana prohibition across the entire nation. The idea is to cripple criminal organization by establishing a taxed and regulated marketplace—keeping the substance out of the hands of children and promoting responsible use.”

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  15. Maintenance therapy is a no brainer. It’s been effective since the beginning of opiate use. The question that needs to be asked is who exactly is profiting from this recently termed “opioid epidemic”. Our government cracks down on doctors blaming pain patients for heroin addiction, fails to secure the southern border, keeps pot illegal furthering the misery for pain sufferers, meanwhile our politicians take huge sums of money from pharmaceutical companies forcing dangerous innefective drugs like Lyrica and Cymbalta on the masses creating regulations so deep that doctors reject pain patients putting them on anti depressants or Lyrica forcing them to illegally but heroin pain meds or pot. It’s insane and these self serving politicians are crooks. If they cared one iota for any tax payers they’d provide full maintenance therapy for anyone with opioid addiction or dependency they’d legalize pot and prosecute the drug manufacturers in big pharma.

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  18. Oh my god no, please tell me this was a bad joke. Controlled, small doses? Speaking as an ex-addict I know if it were legal, I’d go for it again. But to place it in the hands of the government…well hope they are smarter than ours. Go Canada let’s see how this plays out.

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  20. If somebody is absolutely insistent on using heroin, I say give it to them legally. Part of the provision though should be giving them a contact with a social worker who can assist them in if and when they want to stop. As far as crime goes if they commit theft or violent crime they should be punished for that alone. It seems to me making this illegal only makes the situation worse, especially if you consider that often heroin users often were very unfortunate people before they started.

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