Vancouver tests prescription heroin

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As the crackdown on opioid painkillers in the US leads to an unpleasant consequence—unprecedented heroin use in the US, according to an article in The Atlantic—Vancouver is planning a ground breaking experiment with prescription heroin.

After a clinical trial involving 26 subjects, doctors at the city's Providence Medical Clinic have earned permission to provide doses of the drug to a group of 120 severe addicts, despite opposition from Canada's federal Health Secretary.

Needle exchange programs haven't prevented a spate of overdoses in recent months, and addicts either do not respond to treatment with methadone or avoid treatment with it.

Studies in Europe, where prescription heroin is common, have shown the programs produce improved public health outcomes as well as reduce crime.

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