Pubdate: Wed, 08 Dec 2004
Source: Esquimalt News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Esquimalt News
Author: Mark Browne
Bookmark: (Heroin)
Bookmark: (Methadone)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Lecture Explores Heroin As Treatment Option

The idea of heroin as a treatment option for addicts will be the topic of 
discussion at a lecture at the University of Victoria Dec. 9.

Dr. David Marsh, who specializes in addiction medicine at the Vancouver 
Coastal Health Authority, will talk about a 21-month study he's involved 
with aimed at determining whether heroin is more effective than methadone 
as a treatment option for chronic users. The North American Opiate 
Medications Initiative study involves providing pharmaceutical-grade heroin 
to 88 intravenous drug users in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

The idea of using heroin as a treatment option for addicts isn't new, said 
Connie Carter, of the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C. at UVic.

"They do this in Europe," she said.

The North American study follows trials conducted in European cities such 
as Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Geneva, Switzerland where heroin has 
been given to addicts as a form of treatment.

"They have had some positive results," she said.

Marsh will discuss the results of the Dutch and Swiss trials. As well, he 
will talk about current developments for a Canadian Heroin Prescription trial.

Issues around how public health agencies could go about prescribing heroin 
to users will also be discussed at the lecture.

The lecture serves to create public awareness about the possibility of 
using heroin as a treatment option for addicts, Carter said.

The "Heroin Prescription Feasibility, Safety and Efficacy" lecture on Dec. 
9 takes place at 4:30 p.m. at UVic's Harry Hickman Building, Room 110.
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