Canada Approves Prescription Heroin for Recovering Addicts

The Asian opium poppy plant might be beautiful to look at, but its produce, which is extracted from the seed pod of the plant, is a deadly and highly addictive substance. It is more commonly known as heroin. Heroin has become a widely used substance among people of all ages; it can be smoked, snorted or injected, reaching the brain extremely quickly. This hazardous toxin is known to produce feelings of extreme happiness and euphoria, which lasts for hours at a time. This is one of the core reasons that users admit to continued and regular abuse of the drug.

Reversing the Law on Heroin Prescription

Health Canada has recently announced that it will now offer prescription heroin to long-standing heroin addicts in an attempt to counteract deaths by heroin overdose. The decision was not one that was made lightly, as there has been a backlash by members of the public and some political parties. However, many health representatives have welcomed the decision with open arms and plan to embrace it.

One of Canada’s leading doctors, Scott MacDonald of the Crosstown Clinic in Vancouver, seemed particularly approving of the idea, saying, “Our goal is to get people into care.”

Crosstown Clinic is already under a special order to provide this type of service to heroin addicts. The conditions of this plan are that patients who have continually tried and not succeeded in their recovery are advised to attend three times a day. Based on current statistics and research, these patients are then less likely to go on to commit crime than addicts who are abusing the drug without any supervision.

The Right Decision?

To willingly supply a recovering addict with the drug that made them this way in the first place is, to many, an absurd notion. Has the Canadian government strumbled upon a breakthrough? Who knows, but trust is the primary concern. Can a recovering addict who is desperate for the drug he or she craves be trusted to use the substance in moderation as a prescription?

The Conservative Party in Canada certainly does not think so. The party’s health spokesperson Colin Carrie has publicly spoken out, saying, “Our policy is to take heroin out of the hands of addicts and not put it in their arms.”

Many people would tend to agree with this statement, but until this has been trialled, it cannot be deemed wrong or right.

As more countries seem to be adopting a similar idea, proposals supporting this were passed by the British Medical Association recently in its efforts to tackle the most hazardous effects of illegally abusing heroin.

The Dangers of Heroin Abuse

Although many heroin addicts are receiving this treatment in Canada, there are still many who have not been offered it as their addiction is not considered as severe as others; these individuals will no doubt continue to abuse the drug. Abusing the drug, though, can be extremely detrimental to health; numerous risks accompany a heroin addiction, including:

  • nausea/vomiting
  • severe itching
  • drowsiness
  • irregular heartbeat.

More long-term effects include:

  • collapsed veins
  • sexual dysfunction
  • fatal overdose

Those who abuse heroin over an extended period of time could find that they lose the ability to make sound decisions. This can be linked to the fact that heroin can change cognitive function, altering the way in which the affected individual remembers and learns.  Also, opiate drugs such as heroin can repress the immune system, leading to the addict being more prone to infection.

By placing this harmful substance straight back into the hands of these addicts, can we really justify the Canadian initiative as being in their best interest?

Source: Canada approves prescription heroin for addicts who have failed other treatments (The Independent)