Drug users should be able to get heroin from the health system
Professor Schechter discusses the need for heroin assisted treatment16 Apr 2015
In this view, published in the BMJ, Professor Schechter notes a collection of points calling for heroin assisted treatment. Evidence includes a number of randomized control trials from Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Canada and England which have concluded that heroin assisted treatment is more effective than conventional treatment in a subgroup of patients to which detoxification, abstinence programmes, and methadone maintenance, have not been successful.
In addition he discusses that dangers of illicit heroin, as a dangerous street drug that leads to substantial morbidity and mortality. This is due to the unknown dose and purity of illicit heroin, leading to risk of overdose.
Costwise, Prof Schechter notes a Netherlands trial, which has estimated that heroin assisted therapy led to overall savings of about €13 000 (£9530; $14 100) a patient a year when compared with methadone, even after the direct costs of the treatments were taken into account
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