Saturday, 30 May 2009

Germany Passes Prescription Heroin into Law

For years Germany has endured criticism and warnings about their heroin trials from the outdated International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Yesterday, the German parliament essentially snubbed the warnings and voted to include heroin assisted treatment (HAT) as part of their official drug policy. Since the INCB condemns drug addiction and expressly forbids HAT, Germany had to previously conduct their heroin trials using a special clause for scientific research. Article 4 of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugsrequires nations to limit use and possession of drugs to medicinal and scientific purposes”. It’s the same clause that the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) has had to operate under for the last 10 years. All of the countries conducting heroin trials or with MSIC programs have come under relentless criticism from UNODC and the INCB including threats. Australia backed out of a heroin trial after US diplomats and the INCB threatened the Tasmania poppy industry. Luckily for many European countries, the UN/US do not have any bargaining chips to threaten them with. Recently, Switzerland and Denmark both ignored the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and passed HAT into law. Now Germany has joined them.

Is this the beginning of the end for the US/UN dominance over worldwide drug policies? Will this lead to Canada and Spain - who had very successful heroin trials - to establish HAT at the risk of upsetting the US/UN? What about Australia? What about the UK who already have the capacity to prescribe heroin to addicts and are currently finishing off a very successful heroin trial? Will common sense, evidence based research and this growing trend finally tip over the various governments who have considered HAT? With HAT now showing more success than abstinence only treatment, methadone, buprenorphine and Suboxone for long term users, it’s going to be hard for governments to reject. That’s the theory anyway.

German Addicts To Get Synthetic Heroin As Prescription Drug

Earth News

May 2009

Berlin - Long-term drug addicts in Germany will soon be able to obtain synthetic heroin on prescription, under a new law approved by parliament on Thursday. Thousands of addicts are expected to benefit from the legislation reclassifying diamorphine as a legally prescribed controlled drug.

Under the terms of the law, addicts aged 23 or older will be able to obtain diamorphine on prescription at special centres and take it under the supervision of trained personnel.

The programme will apply only to people addicted to opiates for more than 5 years who have unsuccessfully taken parts in rehab programmes at least twice.

The legislation follows a pilot project conducted on more than 1,000 addicts in seven German cities between 2002-2006.

The study showed the health of addicts who took diamorphine improved more frequently than it did for those treated with the heroin substitute methadone.

A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative, who opposed the legislation, warned that up to 80,000 addicts could take advantage of the new scheme, while drug experts put the figure at 2,000 to 3,000.

Related Articles:

What Does Prescription Heroin Really Mean for Junkies?

Another Successful Heroin Trial - Canada

Prescribed Heroin Project 'Promising'

Heroin Assisted Treatment Winning Approval in Europe

Denmark - More Prescription Heroin Programs for Addicts

Who Supports a Heroin Trial?

All articles on prescription heroin


Anonymous said...

With the sheriff George Bush and his deputy John Howard now politically dead, when’s our turn; or are Labor just another bunch of yes men to inept to follow the evidence.

rougevert said...

Why does it say "synthetic heroin" in that article? Are diamorphine, diacetylmorphine, and heroin not just different names for the same thing?

Does anyone know how much heroin you can get and how expensive it is?


Terry Wright said...

Thanks Anon. and Rougevert.

We are starting to see glimpses of Howard's anti-drug rhetoric shine through. Labor's first anti-drug ads are just the same ads from the Libs with a few slight changes. The focus on cannabis and ecstasy is ridiculous as they are some of the safest illicit drugs easily available in Australia. I appreciate Labor's focus on alcohol which is a deadly yet legal drug. The Libs really lacked the guts to emphasise alcohol because being tough on illicit drugs is an easy sell to voters.

Roguevert, I'm a bit confused as well about the term. Heroin is partially synthetic but I have never heard it called "synthetic heroin". The official name is diacetylmorphine but England use the name, diamorphine.

I think the quantity is whatever the addict is used to. I seem to recall there was an upper limit of 1 gram per visit which should be enough for anyone considering it's pure. I think I read somewhere that in The Netherlands, there was an administration fee similar to methadone e.g. $5 a day. Germany's program is going to be free for patients. It's best to check this yourself.

Anonymous said...

Terry hiya mate i also reside in Austraila and am currentley on methadone have been for 4 years +, and am currentley strugling with depresion and los of appitite to the point where i onley eat 1 meal a day at best/ im on a substansial dose , im intregued that u managed to go from methadone to a morphine in Austraila ive been pleeding with my doctor or so called to reasess and change my medecation to morph or ox etc well even the tablet form of done viceptone or the former deloxene /im shure u know what i meen, your advice would be greatly aprecated and obliged , your a luky one mate , please reply to
mostley on how u went aboult it the change over

Voletear said...

Great bloggin. We need ya out there!

Well, it's been awhile since the post subject occurred and, unfortunately, it's become obvious that Obama is a fraud and a huge disappointment. This, of course, bodes ill for HAT, wherever you are.

I'm in the US where all the "drug law reformers" are ecstatic because 14 states have shaky laws allowing medical-marijuana. Meanwhile Harm-Redux of all types - but especially HAT which can't even make it onto the radar - is as low on the pole as ever. This is due in no small part to the selfishness of the cannabis-crowd. Many times over the years I've had to lock horns with some weenie who wrote something like:"Lock-up all the junkies but leave us cannabis patients be."

It's enough to piss the Pope off. I envy the people who live in countries that have the sense to proceed on HAT or even to discuss it. I've been 37 years on methadone and I wonder what could have been if I was able to access HAT. I wouldn't be dying - I know that, at least not like this.

Fight for it while you can.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Anon.

I am asked this question quite a lot.

I was able to switch over to Slow Release Oral Morphine (SROM) because I also had a pain issue. Methadone seemed to be contributing to the pain and also depression. I had to have several appointments with various specialists including a pharmacotherapist who has the authority to advise the health department on my medical needs. It wasn't easy and is rarely done from what I hear. It therefor seems that the pain issue made it possible.

If your doctor won't give you a referral to a pharmacotherapist, then I suggest going to a new doctor.

The depression seems to be a common problem with methadone. SROM certainly made a huge difference for me especially for depression. I am dumbfounded why SROM isn't used more for those patients who do that well on methadone.

I hope this helps.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Voletear.

Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT) is definitely one of the more successful treatments for long term addicts. Also, Slow Release Oral Morphine (SROM) would also be a great treatment but not just for long term users. This is what I am on although it's not one of the prescribed medications for addicts in Australia. A few European countries have SROM as part of their substitution program but what else would you expect from a much more advanced civilisation.

HAT will be used more and more around the world but I doubt if the US will ever be part of it. Too many religious nutters and descendants of the Temperance Movement. Too many moralists and not enough science based policies. My god, it sounds like the new Australia!

BTW, just because someone supports legalised cannabis doesn't mean they aren't ignorant about drugs. I too have seen many pro cannabis pundits hammer "junkies" which just makes me laugh. They support legalising cannabis because they are potheads not because drug prohibition is wrong. These people are EVIL!

Anyway, thanks again for your great comment.

Don't forget to come back.

Anonymous said...

Legislation in Victoria permits the manufacture of heroin/diacetylmorphine:

Why does the government continue to let people die and/or contract preventable diseases from unknown doses of adulterated heroin from illegal sources?

Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 - SECT 56

Manufacture of heroin etc.

56. Manufacture of heroin etc.

(1) On the recommendation of the Minister, made after consulting with the
Secretary, the Governor in Council may licence a fit and proper person to
manufacture and sell or supply heroin by wholesale.

(2) Where a licence is in force under subsection (1), no other licence shall
be in force under that subsection for any period during which the
first-mentioned licence is in force.

(3) On the recommendation of the Minister, made after consulting with the
Secretary, the Governor in Council may licence a fit and proper person to
formulate heroin.

(4) For the purposes of this section, a person formulates heroin if he
prepares or does any act for the purpose of or in the course of preparing
heroin in a form suitable for human therapeutic use.

(5) Where a licence is in force under subsection (3) no other licence under
that subsection shall be in force for any period during which the
first-mentioned licence is in force.

(6) The Governor in Council may on the recommendation of the Minister, made
after consulting with the Secretary, grant or refuse to grant a licence under
subsection (1) or subsection (3).

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Anon.


That means diamorphine for a heroin trial can be sourced in Australia.

Thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

what a joke I myself was on oxy contin for years to treat my heroin addiction it worked great then I decided to jump off it and when it didn't work and I relapsed on heroin I decided to go back onto oxy contin but was not allowed it even though I had bad reactions to methadone now Im depressed stuck on methadone and am sure my life will be shortend a great deal because of this no one cares and I fought hard I went to drug and alcohol professors and everything I was offered 120mg a day when I was on 160mg for 6 years and needed to go up to be honest how can we move forward when our own drug professors don't even know the conversion tablet of methadone to oxy contin or morphine its about 4 to 1 4mg of oxy or morph to 1mg of methadone and I was on 80mg of methadone. Now before I went on methadone 160mg of oxy was enough but methadone and stuffed my tolerance and now I need much more if anyone can help with advice I would appreciate it I have pain in my wrist now Im thinking I should use that to try and change over I really an disgusted in Australia we were going to be one of the first countries to have a HAT program and now we are one of the last to even be talking about it fuck john howard and the u.s they ruin everything I would move to Europe if I could afford it.

Anonymous said...

thanks for having sites like these I'm sorry for the grammar of my last post I was in a hurry but I truly can't understand how Australia can be so far behind it's so sad people forget all addicts myself included don't want to have to break laws to live our lives and we are part of families who suffer so much for outdated laws why can't we all get together and start fighting the government on this get petitions and protest enough is enough.1