With North America having been devastated by the opioid overdose crisis, the Canadian government under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made quite a critical decision. Heroin can now be legally prescribed by a doctor to patient suffering from severe heroin addictions. The Canadian government approved these new rules just recently.
In fact, it was last week that these rules went into effect. Now, any doctor in Canada can legally acquire and prescribe medical-grade heroin to specific patients by submitting an application to Health Canada, which is the national health department of the country. Under these new regulations, the Special Access Program that is being run by the government will approve these requests based upon each individual case.
Contrary to the misinformation that is being spread, it is worth clarifying that heroin itself has not been legalized for the general public in Canada. Rather, only medical-grade heroin known as diacetylmorphine will be accessible exclusively to doctors only after a request has been filed and evidence is provided that “traditional options have been tried and proven ineffective” for heroin addiction treatment.
Diacetylmorphine, which is the active ingredient in heroin, is already being used as a treatment for opioid dependence in particular European countries like Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. In many chronic heroin dependence cases, traditionally prescribed drugs like buprenorphine and methadone often prove to be ineffective.
It has been seen in numerous studies that when other treatments have proven to be a failure, treatment with diacetylmorphine ended up being effective and helpful. For instance, the “Diacetylmorphine versus Methadone …” study published in the New England Journal of Medicine back in 2009 revealed that providing diacetylmorphine to patients with serious heroin addictions could help ensure that they avoid using illegal drugs and continue with their addiction treatment.
Many heroin addicts had started taking this drug as a means of relief from extremely precarious and unsound environments. Many of these people refuse treatment entirely because they are generally ordered to bring a radical change in their behavior. Treatment with diacetylmorphine supports heroin users in a supervised environment, which substantially diminishes the adverse health effects and risks of heroin use. By knowing that they will continue receiving the stability and support that they so desperately require, these addicts will be more likely to stick with the treatment and make healthier decisions eventually.
An added bonus of this new legislation is that tax paying Canadian locals will actually be able to save on their tax bill. Open drug use has had adverse effects on Canadian communities, which will now be reduced. One example of this would be a similar Crosstown prescription program that has been available in Vancouver for quite some time now. The program has managed to bring down the annual costs involved in reprimanding and treating heroin and other drug addicts from a potential $35,000 to $21,000 per client per year.
Above, this new legislation that has been approved by the Canadian government will save lives. Much like the United States, Canada has also been struggling with a heroin and opioid epidemic, but with this bold step that has been taken by the country’s government, heroin addicts will not be helpless anymore.