Canadian doctors can now prescribe heroin to addicts

Health Canada amended its regulations to allow doctors to prescribe the drug as a treatment for those who are severely addicted


By PoliceOne Staff

OTTAWA — A change to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act last week now allows Canadian doctors to apply for permission to prescribe severely addicted patients pharmaceutical-grade heroin.

CNN reported the government referred to the change in the regulation as a "medical need for emergency access to diacetylmorphine."

"A number of countries have allowed doctors to use diacetylmorphine-assisted treatment to support the small percentage of patients with opioid dependence who have not responded to other treatment options," the regulation states. "There is also a significant body of scientific evidence supporting its use."

The change clarifies that the drug can only be prescribed to patients under supervision in specialized circumstances. 

Prescribing heroin to addicts can lessen their exposure to life-threatening health risks, like drug overdoses, blood-borne viral infections and endocarditis, according to Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes, associate professor at the University of British Columbia.

Studies show that prescribing heroin under a doctor’s supervision reduces illicit drug use and decreases criminal activity and health care costs, according to the publication. 

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