Former MP John Reynolds believes that Canada should start medicating addicts with prescription heroin; in the same manner it would any other health condition that is controlled with medication. Clearly, convincing Canadians of this presumption will not be an easy feat as addiction is hardly comparable to conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes.
“Mr. Reynolds, a member of the InnerChange Foundation in Vancouver, applauded the research arm of Health Canada for financing the Study to Assess Longer-term Opioid Medication Effectiveness (SALOME), which will offer heroin and a legal substitute, Hydromorphone.”
And…“In a secondary phase, some of the 200 addicts who will be recruited to the program will be offered heroin in a pill form - another way of reducing the stigma and health risks associated with injecting drugs.”
"We really hope with SALOME that, if we can show (Hydromorphone) is as effective, there will be so many fewer obstacles to treatment - because it is not called heroin."
Surely society can perceive the benefits for the addict and the community as a whole; however the pill is not the answer. The addict no longer has to commit crimes and suffer various traumas associated with obtaining drugs. The addict can be slowly weaned off drugs in a more controlled manner with the assistance of health professionals in order to ease themselves into proper treatment. The addict would have much needed support during the path to recovery.
No one can deny these benefits; however is the main objective here not to make drug use safer and reduce crime? Many people, including addicts, will view this method as replacing one drug with another, therefore maintaining psychological dependence. In addition, side effects and withdrawal symptoms are not all that unlike those of heroin, morphine or other opiods. Although studies have shown that Hydromorphone can be more successful than methadone, the latter has also not proven to be the much needed solution for many addicts.
I must say that I’m not sold on the idea that addiction is merely a physical condition needing medication, Mr. Reynolds. Recovery requires treatment of both physical and psychological aspects, especially when addiction is so often combined with other mental health conditions.
Prescribe heroin to addicts, former Tory MP says