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Canada Just Legalized Heroin to Control Drug Addiction

heroin, drug addiction, epidemic
Photo by Getty Images

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.

99 Comments

99 Comments

  1. Avatar

    James Bodie

    September 14, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Yes! This is a start! Harm reduction, not prohibition. http://drugpolicy.ca/report/CDPC2013_en.pdf

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    September 15, 2016 at 1:39 am

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  3. Avatar

    mikCND

    September 15, 2016 at 2:05 am

    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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      September 19, 2016 at 6:30 am

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  4. Avatar

    Ronnie

    September 15, 2016 at 2:42 am

    I am a H addict in america and jesus christ i would give anything to have this treatment it would actually give me my life back………

    • Avatar

      Ricky

      September 15, 2016 at 11:24 am

      Good luck, Ronnie!

    • Avatar

      Matthew C Penn

      September 15, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      Try Kratom it had saved many lives

      • Avatar

        Pat

        September 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm

        Unfortunately, Kratom was just outlawed last week in the US.

        • Avatar

          Matthew C Penn

          September 15, 2016 at 2:57 pm

          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.

          • Avatar

            Kimmarie Huber

            September 29, 2016 at 6:15 pm

            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?

        • Avatar

          Taylor Oneal

          September 21, 2016 at 4:22 pm

          Which is the absolute worst news.

      • Avatar

        umyeahyourestupid

        September 15, 2016 at 2:42 pm

        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…

        • Avatar

          Matthew C Penn

          September 15, 2016 at 2:54 pm

          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.

          • Avatar

            umyeahyourestupid

            September 21, 2016 at 2:50 pm

            were you a long-term IV user though? because it does nothing to help withdrawal imo

          • Avatar

            Matthew C Penn

            September 21, 2016 at 3:58 pm

            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.

          • Avatar

            umyeahyourestupid

            September 23, 2016 at 12:38 pm

            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

          • Avatar

            Matthew C Penn

            September 23, 2016 at 5:14 pm

            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.

          • Avatar