Canada’s New Prescription for Heroin Addicts? Heroin.

Leave it to Canada to figure out the obvious: the reason why heroin addicts are experiencing withdrawals is because they don’t have heroin. Duh. And Canada has found a solution for these heroin withdrawals. It’s called heroin:

Doctors in Canada will become the first medics in North America to prescribe heroin to addicts next week.

Staff at the Vancouver-based Providence Crosstown Clinic have received a shipment of medical grade heroin and will begin prescribing the drug over the coming days.

This is apparently not a joke. Canadian doctors think that controlled dosages of heroin, diminishing over time, can wean addicts off of heroin. I guess I see some logic in this. Methadone and other heroin replacements often become an addiction on their own terms, and quitting cold turkey can be hazardous to the already compromised health of addicts.

But it seems to me that giving heroin in any dosage to heroin addicts is not a good policy. Combine this with a socialized healthcare system, and you basically have a “free drugs from the government” program brewing.

As soon as it becomes clear to addicts that they can leave the streets and get the best heroin in the world for free, it’s likely they will do that. Until the heroin runs out. And then, in all likelihood, they’ll be back on the street looking for more heroin.

Even the “success” stories for this treatment are dubious. One “former” addict in Britain went on the heroin program for heroin addiction when it was in clinical trials there. Here’s a little bit of her story:

Sarah, one of the participants, says she had tried countless treatment programs in the past, but nothing had rid her of her 20-year heroin habit. “I was pretty chaotic,” she says. “Most of my time was taken up by either looking for money or taking drugs.” But by going to the clinic every day to inject heroin, she received help finding housing and battling her depression and had time to become a mentor for inmates being released from jail. Within the first year of the trial, Sarah had reduced her injections from twice a day to once, and she recently quit heroin altogether in favor of a mixture of morphine and methadone. She hopes to be off the drugs soon, crediting her resolve to the program’s nonjudgmental attitude.

So she was able to “quit” heroin after a year of taxpayer-funded injections only to become an addict to morphine (also an opioid, by the way) and methadone. So instead of giving her methadone right off the bat, they gave Sarah heroin for a year and then gave her methadone… and morphine. It seems pretty obvious to me that this isn’t going to work. And since it is doomed to failure, I’m sure we’ll see it here in the States in no time at all.