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Effects Of Medical Heroin Co-prescription For Treatment-refractory Chronic Addicts

Quality level: 2

Initial situation

Though several studies mention different amounts of opiate addicts in the Netherlands, a fair consensus exist on an estimated number of 25,000. Experiences in Switzerland and the United Kingdom with heroin prescription were hopeful, though the English target populations did not equal the Dutch target population and the Swiss experiment was not systematically evaluated. In 1995 the Dutch Health Council adviced the government to evaluate systematically the effects of medical prescription of heroine to treatment-refractory chronic opiate addicts.

Basic assumptions/theory

When chronic opiate addicts are resistent to methadone treatment or maintenance, free heroine co-prescription will improve the health situation of these addicts. It will also decrease the use of other illegal drugs, and concomitant public nuisance. This approach clearly does not solve the addiction, so when medical co-prescription is stopped, these outcomes will become negative again. When chronic opiate addicts are resistent to methadone treatment or maintenance, free heroin co-prescription will be an inviting alternative, bringing more rest to their stressful life. The results of this experiment will enable a specification of other questions and hypotheses on heroin prescription.

The PDF contains the full intervention description including additional contact information.

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Page last updated: Friday, 20 January 2012