It seems every week there is more evidence that providing legal heroin to long term addicts is more effective than other treatments. The most recent study from Germany has again shown that addicts who have failed other programs respond much better to heroin assisted treatment. Germany is one of the growing number of countries who prescribe heroin to a small group of hard core addicts. This is in direct conflict with the UNODC who brandish the US influenced, prohibition policy that has caused of most of the world’s drug problems. This new study will send the Zero Tolerance nutters into a moral tail spin of mega proportions.
Long-term effects of heroin-assisted treatment in Germany.
Aims: Trials in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Spain have found that heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) as maintenance treatment for opioid-dependent patients reduces illicit drug use. A German trial also found diamorphine treatment to be superior to methadone treatment. The present study describes the association between 2 years of heroin treatment and improvements in health and social stabilization, as well as illicit drug use.
Design: A prospective cohort study design.
Participants: A total of 515 patients were assigned to diamorphine treatment; 278 patients remained in the study treatment for the entire period of 24 months (54.8%).
Measurements: The results on physical1 and mental2 health and illicit drug use3 were examined by repeated-measures analyses.
Findings: Symptoms of physical4 and mental health5 improved during treatment. Street heroin use declined rapidly6, as did cocaine use7.
Conclusions: HAT is associated with improvements in mental and physical health in the long term.
-Centre for Interdisciplinary Addiction Research of Hamburg University, CIAR, Hamburg, Germany.
Verthein U, Bonorden-Kleij K, Degkwitz P, Dilg C, Köhler WK, Passie T, Soyka M, Tanger S, Vogel M, Haasen C.
1. Opiate Treatment Index Health Symptoms Scale
2. Symptom Checklist 90-Revised Global Severity Index
3. number of days with drug use within the last month-European Addiction Severity Index
4. Pillai's trace = 0.837, df = 4, P <>
5. Pillai's trace = 0.450, df = 4, P <>
6. Pillai's trace = 0.836, df = 4, P <>
7. Pillai's trace = 0.280, df = 4, P <>